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Winter is almost a joke where I live. Last Christmas we were wearing shorts and the next weekend winter coats. You can never quite put away your summer clothes until December, and even then you might regret it. Despite the weather acting somewhat finicky, it does get a little chilly during the winter months. When I leave for work most mornings the temperature can be around 30 or 40 degrees. In years past, we would play a classic game of “how long can we go until turning on the heat” and needless to say, my Fiance always won. He is like a personal space heater in that he almost never gets cold. The warmest jacket he owns is a “heavy” flannel, and in previous years that’s what he wore out in the snow.
Despite having my own human space heater, we do use our heat in the winter. It’s no question that it costs more to run the heat than it does to run your air conditioner, and it can even be double the cost. I’m always on the hunt for a new way to save money, and one of those ways is by keeping my electric bill down during the winter. We work hard to keep our electric bill low every month. Currently, our apartment is sitting at a toasty 68 degrees. There are a few things you can do to help keep your electric bill low even during the winter. Here are some ways to save money on your electric bill.
How to Lower your Electric Bill During the Winter
Turn off the lights
Many people have a nasty habit of leaving the light on as they go from room to room. If you aren’t in the room, turn the light off. This can be especially hard if you don’t live alone, but remind your family members/roommates to turn off the lights when they are leaving a room. In the winter months, the days are short which means less time for sunlight. Use what little sunlight you have to help brighten up your rooms during the daytime. On the weekends, I will open the blinds in our living room and let the daylight serve as our lights for the morning. The sun will also help heat up your apartment, double bonus! Buying LED light bulbs is a higher upfront cost than standard bulbs, but they last much longer, and save a ridiculous amount of energy!
Unplug your stuff
Unplug your appliances and electronics when they’re not in use! Even when these items are turned off, they may still draw electricity. This is a phenomenon known as vampire power. I’m not suggesting you run into the kitchen and unplug your fridge (please don’t do this) but there’s no reason to leave your TV, computer, or even your toaster plugged in! Use smart strips to make this easier, that way you can cut vampire electricity off at the source without having to unplug and replug in all your electronics.
If you don’t want to unplug devices such as your computer, put them in sleep or hibernation mode if you must leave them on. Computers can draw quite a bit of power, so using settings designed to reduce power consumption can make a big difference.
Turn down the heat
I know it’s cold out, but trust me, this comes from personal experience. In the cooler months, set your thermostat to 68 degrees at most. Heat is expensive to run, and you won’t freeze to death! If you’re already wearing long sleeves, socks, pants or other winter weather attire, you will be plenty warm. I’m always snuggled up under a blanket on the couch (even in the summer), and I hardly notice the difference when I’m on the couch.
Seal your Home
This is an easy step that only needs to be done once. Check around your home, specifically your doors and windows. If you see any light around the door frame or window after it is closed, you have a leak. This means you are letting in air, which can make your home noticeably colder in the winter. Buy some weather stripping or foam weather seal to seal your windows and doors.
Use your Oven
I love to bake, and frankly, it doesn’t really matter what. You can usually find me in the kitchen making muffins, cookies, biscuits, or cinnamon buns these days. Nothing will heat up our apartment quicker than just using the oven. During a really busy night of cooking, we have even seen our thermostat as high as 79 degrees (which may also be somewhat of our first and second-floor neighbors help).
Close off unused areas of the house
Heating an entire house is expensive, but I would bet that there are a number of rooms you don’t frequently use. Closing off unused areas of the home helps redirect the heat to the spaces where you do spend most of your time. Be sure to close the vents in these rooms too, not just the door. Besides, no one cares if it’s a little chilly in the laundry room.
This sounds like a dumb tip, but trust me it really does make a difference. If you are walking around in shorts, a t-shirt, and no socks in the wintertime, OF COURSE you are going to want it to be warmer! Purchasing a few rugs for the bathrooms and other hardwood floors can also help protect feet from the icy floors.
Spring will be here before you know it! Until then, stay warm and save some money!
What do you do to save on your electric bill during the winter?
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