With the temperatures beginning to dip lower, many of us find ourselves reaching for the “On” switch on our heaters to help combat the cold. Each year, the cold weather months cost Americans thousands of dollars — last year, the Energy Information Administration predicted that consumers that used oil heat would spend an average of $2,544 on heating costs alone, while natural gas users would spend an average of $1,031. Heating your home isn’t cheap, but there are many practical steps that you can take to keep your household energy bill manageable.
1. Lower that thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average household can save 10% on their energy bill annually by lowering the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day. Drop the temperature before you leave the house for work in the morning, or before you go to bed at night. On days when you’re at home, drop the temperature by a few degrees and layer up with a sweater and socks—lowering the temperature by just one degree can reduce energy up to 3%.
2. Let the sunshine in
The sun is a natural energy resource that you can take advantage of for absolutely no cost. Keep your blinds open during the day and let the maximum amount of sunlight warm the rooms in your house. Close blinds or curtains after dark to help keep the heat in.
3. Check for leaks
Don’t let your money literally go out the window — check your house for gaps around windows, doors and anywhere else that warm air could possibly seep out. Weatherize your home as needed and don’t forget to check your insulation, too!
4. Give your heating unit some T.L.C.
Make sure that your heating unit is in tip-top shape for the start of the season by having it inspected by a professional. Remember to change air filters monthly and keep registers and radiators clear and uncovered.
5. Save during the holiday season
When it comes time to deck the halls, energy.gov recommends using LED lights for decorating, which use less electricity than traditional, incandescent bulbs. Putting your lights on a timer can also help you manage your electricity use efficiently.
Looking for more energy-saving tips? Our friends at SMECO put together a video on more cost-cutting measures you can take during the winter months. Want to make energy savings a year-round mission? Check out this infographic for even more ways to save!