How To Save Money On Utility Bills This Winter

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heating system exterior

The crispness of Fall is in the air once again. The leaves are changing colors, the kids are talking about Halloween and Christmas, and utility bills are about to skyrocket with the impending cold weather coming. Rather than just accept these higher bills that can sometimes destroy a family’s limited budget, you can be proactive right now and start doing something about it.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your furnace or heating system is properly prepared for the Winter months. A clean heating system is a much more efficient heating system, meaning your furnace won’t have to work as hard to heat up your home. Even electric baseboard heaters can benefit from a good cleaning!

Once you’ve accomplished that task, you may also wish to consider these practical tips that can help you keep the warm air inside and money in your pockets:

Tip #1: Insulate Your Windows & Doors

One of the biggest contributors to heat loss [and the higher utility bills that accompany heat loss] are exterior windows and doors. Even the best weatherproofing products can’t prevent air from escaping, so sealing up your unused doors and as many windows as possible will help to save you quite a bit on your utility bills. A good sealing kit costs about five bucks per window or door.

Don’t have the money to seal those windows? No problem! Blankets or sheets can also work as a low-budget insulator for these items. Even a towel rolled up in front of a door can help to prevent heat from escaping! What you’re doing is providing a layer of insulation against a temperature transfer – there are families who will even cover newspaper to their windows in a pinch to keep in some warm air.

Tip #2: Decide to Bundle Up!

The lower you can keep your overall temperature inside the home, the lower the utility bills will be. A lot of homes tend to be set around 72F as their baseline temperature. Every degree lower that you can set your thermostat for a 24 hour period throughout the month, you’ll save about 3% on your overall utility bill. That means lowering your home’s temperature from an average of 72F to an average of 66F can save up to 18% on your Winter bills!

To counter these colder temperatures, dressing in layers can help to keep comfort levels high. If you don’t like the idea of wearing a hoodie or sweater at home 24/7, you can lower your utility bills by about 1% for every 8 hours per day that you have a lower temperature at home. This means that the same difference would net a 6% drop in utility bills if you lowered your thermostat while you are at work.

Tip #3: Limit Space Heater Use

There are moments when your house seems REALLY cold. When you’ve got a case of the shivers, it is easy to break out the space heater so that you can warm up the room you’re occupying at home. It seems like if you just keep that one room heated and the rest of the home has a dialed down, you could save money, right?

This usually isn’t the case. The average space heater costs about $10-$15 per month in utility costs to operate. If you run 3 space heaters in your home during the Winter months, you’re actually spending around $45 more in utility bills! Limit the use of space heaters as much as you can and these efforts will also help to limit your utility bills.

Tip #4: Fill Up Cracks In Your Foundation

A surprising amount of heat can escape from your home through the cracks in your basement or crawl space walls. Even though hot air rises, most homes have their primary heat source on the bottom level of the home. The initial heat goes into the areas that have the cracks in the walls to the outside. This means you’re paying extra to heat up the cold air outside!

A simple silicone application that costs just a couple bucks is often a good enough temporary solution to seal a room to prevent hot air loss. If you find that you have stairway cracks in a foundation wall or there are cracks that extend throughout the entirety of a wall, you may also have a moisture problem that may need to be addressed as well.

What Can You Do To Save Money?

Whether you crack open your oven after you’re done cooking dinner or you insulate your attic with a new layer of insulation [even if that insulation is only blankets], these tips and the ones above can help you dramatically lower your utility bills this Winter. Utilize the ones that make sense for you today so that when Winter does set in, you’ll be prepared to beat the cold at its own game! It is also recommend to get a home energy audit to see what areas of your house should be improved. This energy auditor directory can help you find a local auditor in your state.

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