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Blog Jan 17, 2013

How to Lower Electric Bill in Winter

Energy Saving

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Trying to lower your electric bill in the winter is a universal hair-pulling issue for residents in colder climates. The temptation to blast warm air into your home and throw all reservations about heating costs out the window is at an all time high during the winter. But making your heating system work harder to keep warm air circulating in your home can have a devastating impact on your energy costs in wintertime. Read through Payless Power’s saving energy tips to learn how to lower your electric bill in the winter.

10 Energy Savings Tips to Help Lower Your Winter Electric Bill

1. Use a programmable thermostat.

When you resist the urge to tweak your thermostat throughout the day to make sure that there is a constant supply of warm air in your home, you are already on your way to reducing energy consumption and lowering your heating bills.  To aid in this effort and manage your temptation to toggle your thermostat, Payless Power recommends investing in a programmable thermostat. These smart thermostats will automatically change the temperature throughout the day according to the schedule that you set. One energy saving tip is to lower the temperature when you are at work by a few degrees and have it raised back up as you are getting home, as there is no need to rack up heating costs when no one is home to benefit from the warm air!

2. Add insulation to your home.

As you approach the cold winter homes, it is advantageous to check if the insulation in your home is sufficiently reducing keeping the warm air in, for heat loss through poor insulation is one of the biggest perpetrators of a high winter energy bill. Using a thermal camera to locate cold spots and air leaks, do a sweep of the walls, ceiling, floor, window and door trim, rim joists, and pipes. Caulking, weatherstripping or replacing seals on your windows and doors as necessary reduces heat loss and keeps cold air from coming in and keeps you from spending unnecessary money. Additionally, do not overlook adding some insulation to an unfinished basement as trapping heat on the lower floor will ultimately rise and provide warm air to the main floors of your home. Lastly, it is beneficial to wrap extra insulation around your pipes to help your water heater work smarter not harder during the winter months, as well as to help keep the pipes from freezing.

3. Wear warm and comfortable clothing.

Want to know how to save electricity in the winter without spending a dime? One of the most effective ways to keep warm in the winter while enjoying a lower energy bill is to dig deep into your closet for the warmest sweaters and the fuzziest slippers. Wearing thick layers will allow you to take advantage of warming up with your own body heat and will help prevent you from turning up the heat unnecessarily. This is the easiest way to save money in the winter as it is an absolutely free lifestyle change!

4. Replace your air filter.

The key to energy-efficient central air and heating systems is ensuring that the HVAC works properly. One of the ways to do that is making sure that the air filter is clean or regularly replaced so that the unit doesn’t work as hard to heat your home. For reference, a clogged filter cuts efficiency by 5-15%, and a sign that your air conditioning unit is clogged and needs replacing is when the system starts to get louder.

5. Lower the temperature on the water heater.

One of the most expensive appliances in your home is the water heater, which you know is working hard during winter to keep you comfortable. An easy way to save money on your energy bill during the winter is to lower the temperature of your water heater by even a few degrees. This will reduce the effort that the heater needs to exert and thus will save energy. A pro tip for optimizing your water heater’s energy efficiency is to turn it off while your household is on an overnight vacation. Just remember to turn it back on when you get home to enjoy a nice hot shower!

6. Use expensive appliances strategically.

While using large appliances during the winter can be particularly costly since there is so much demand on the energy grid, there is no real way to avoid using them daily and still maintain a comfortable lifestyle. However, using your appliances strategically can be very helpful when striving to lower your energy bill. For instance, drying loads of clothing consecutively rather than waiting between loads minimizes energy consumption because the unit remains warmer longer. An added benefit of using your dryer for an extended period of time is that it raises the temperature in your home, foregoing the need to rely on your thermostat for warmth.

7. Wash clothes in cold water.

When doing your laundry, opt for washing your clothes in cold water as opposed to warm water whenever possible. This act will relieve your water heater from having to participate in this often daily chore, making room for an easy way to save money and energy while using a large expensive appliance.

8. Use your ceiling fans.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, utilizing your ceiling fans can give you more control over your home’s ventilation during the colder times of the year. Normally fans rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down. During the cooler months, have your fan rotate clockwise during the cooler months to redistribute warm air that typically rises back downward. Additionally, keep the vents open in any rooms that aren’t used daily (guest room, basement, storage areas) to help redistribute the heat throughout to the rooms in your home that are in use. Closed vents can cause unnecessary strain and damage to your ducts so even if the room’s not in use, leave the vents open.

9. Check that your appliances work properly.

Appliances that don’t work properly are an energy drain on your home. Be sure to check that all appliances are cleaned, repaired, and working properly. If you prefer to simply replace your appliances, be sure to do so with Energy Star models that focus on energy efficiency.

10. Consider a prepaid electricity plan.

For immediate and long-term savings on your electricity bill, consider switching from a long-term contract to a prepaid service plan with an electric provider such as Payless Power that gives you the option to pre-pay for strictly the electricity that you actually use. This will keep you from paying for energy that is not being used and it will also give you an idea of what your energy consumption is so that you can better plan and budget for the winter months.

How Will You Lower Your Electric Bill This Winter?

If you implement even a few of these electricity savings tips this winter, you will see a reduction in your energy bill. These tips will only have a strong impact if they suit your habits and lifestyle, so pick a few that seem accessible to you and start there. Whatever route you decide to take, finding ways to save money and energy consistently during the winter months will help you enjoy the coziness of the colder season even more.

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