Staying warm in the dead of winter is an expensive endeavor—especially as temperatures drop to well below freezing in many parts of the U.S. and North America. The electricity demand during the months of December, January, and February is enough to set you back the rest of the year, and with everyone cranking the heat to stay warm, many utilities are warning of pending brownouts and blackouts around the country.
Here are six effective ways that you can curb this winter’s brutal energy bills
1. Schedule a furnace check-up
A furnace inspection with a certified technician should be an annual appointment to ensure your home’s heating and ventilation system is operating efficiently. Sure, inspections can cost you a little money; however, the price is offset by the energy savings over time you will glean from an optimal running furnace.
2. Program your thermostat
Give your furnace a break during the work day and during the night. By investing in a programmable thermostat you can automatically adjust the time the heating or air conditioning comes on according to a pre-set schedule, lowering your monthly energy bills in the process.
3. Look for appliance incentives
They do exist. And if you choose to invest in a new energy-efficient heating and air conditioning unit or an appliance (such as an oven, fridge, freezer, washing machine, or dish washer) you will drastically reduce your long-term bills. Many systems and appliances also qualify for federal tax credits of 30% off so be sure to consult your local government incentives and utility deals online before you buy.
4. Patch those leaks
Hunt down sources around your home where heat might be escaping through the cracks. Do a walk around of your home’s exterior—look to windows and door frames and caulk or use weather-stripping to plug up and seal drafty spots.
5. Swap those light bulbs
Swapping incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents will drastically cut your home electricity costs. How? Switching one incandescent for a CFL will earn you approximately $35 in energy costs over the life of the bulb (which is about 10-years on average).
6. Unplug your gadgets
I know, I’m just as guilty of leaving my laptop plugged in all day long to charge even though it’s already juiced. Instead, unplug things like smart phone chargers, coffee pots, toaster ovens, microwaves, and appliances that continue to suck energy and generate heat when not in use. This is called “phantom power” and as long as appliances are attached to a power source they will continue to consume energy.
About The Author
Tina Jacobs is a registered nurse and DIY home improvement maven who has written and blogger for DIY Mother as well as numerous print and online publications ranging in topics from education to health and from home renovations to interior decorating.