Today we have a guest post from Pearl Tsui who is a content writer with EnergyRates.ca, an energy rate comparison website that provides unbiased third-party reviews of electricity and natural gas providers. Pearl is going to share some simple tips on how to lower your electric bill in Winter and Fall.
While some of these tips are similar to the ones outlined in my “Ways to Save Energy and Lower Your Electric Bill” post, this post is definitely still worth reading! Pearl has provided some clever ways to keep your electric bill down in the Winter without spending much (or any) money. Enjoy!
15 Easy Ways to Keep Your Electric Bill Down In the Winter
With fall just around the corner, it might be a good idea to start thinking about how you can save energy. Sunny days aren't the only thing we're going to see less of — lower heating costs are also going to be gone.
Generally, temperatures drop during the fall and winter, and our heating costs tend to rise. That can cause a significant, unwanted spike in our energy bills.
With just a little foresight and a few good habits, though, you can minimize the amount of energy you use during fall and winter and save money on your utility bills. Make your home more energy-efficient with these simple and inexpensive tips.
1. Keep your curtains open during the day and closed at night
This is a free and easy tip that anybody can do. Leaving your curtains open during the day allows the sun to warm your home and closing the curtains at night helps stave off some of the chills that come along with autumn nights.
It might be a small change, but combined with the other tips in this post, you might be surprised at how much energy you can save.
2. Install a smart programmable thermostat
Did you know that, according to EnergyStar, you can save up to $180 a year in energy costs if you use a programmable thermostat?
These devices can “learn” your schedule and set energy-saving temperatures for when you're away from home or when you're at work. In some cases, you can even set temperatures using your phone.
If you're not sure what temperatures to set, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) recommends 17 degrees Celsius for when you're outside or sleeping, and 20 C for when you're at home and awake.
3. Clean out your fridge
We're not only talking about that old container that's been in the back of your fridge for months now that you're afraid to open. Clearing out unnecessary items can mean less energy used to cool things in your fridge and more money saved on your utilities.
Another part of your fridge you can clean is the condenser coils. According to NRCan, dirty condenser coils restrict airflow and cause your refrigerator to work harder and use more energy, meaning that you will enjoy the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner without increasing your bills.
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4. Lower your water heating temperature
As the temperatures outside start to cool during fall, you might be tempted to take long, hot showers to warm up. You don't necessarily have to give up your hot showers to save energy though.
Setting your water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can help you save energy by reducing the heat loss from your water heater. That is, you can save up to 22% in energy costs per year from this free tip.
5. Make your fireplace more efficient
When fall comes around, you might feel like lighting up your fireplace and enjoying some time sitting by the fire. However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wood-burning fireplaces are inefficient at heating your home and they can even cause you to use more energy
For example, fireplace drafts can cause warm air to be pulled up your chimney, cooling other rooms in the process and causing your furnace to use more energy to reheat those cooled rooms.
If you don't want to give up using your fireplace, there are ways to make it more efficient, such as making sure that the wood you burn isn't wet. Otherwise, that could result in excess smoke and heat loss.
6. Use a hot water bottle to stay warm when sleeping
No one likes to be freezing cold when they sleep, and we all know that it can get pretty chilly outside during fall and winter nights.
Before you turn up the temperature on the thermostat, try sleeping with a hot water bottle. You'll be able to stay warm while you sleep, and the energy used to heat the water in the bag will cost a lot less than the electricity or gas you would use to heat your entire house during the night. Just make sure to put a cover on your hot water bottle to prevent any burns.
7. Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise to feel warmer
Just because summer is over doesn't mean you have to stop using your ceiling fan. What some people don't know is that ceiling fans can help keep your rooms more comfortable in colder seasons by pushing warm air away from the ceiling and back towards the room.
Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise to push warm air back down into your rooms and to help you feel warmer during fall and winter. If you feel warmer, you can turn down your thermostat a few degrees and save energy and money.
8. Clean your windows
Here's another tip that anyone can do: Clean your windows. To best take advantage of the sun and the free heat it provides, you should have clean windows.
Dirty windows prevent sunlight from penetrating very well into your home, which means you would have to use more energy to heat your home. And let's not forget that clean windows look much nicer.
9. Remove window air conditioning units
Once we enter fall, we generally don't have many hot days like summer, so taking down your window air conditioning units can be a good idea.
For one thing, they block natural light from entering, meaning that the sun can't warm your home as much. They can also cause drafts, which means more energy is required to heat your home.
If you can't remove your window air conditioning units, you can seal around the edges with caulk and cover your unit to prevent air leaks and gaps.
10. Add insulation to your home
All the heating in the world won't help your house stay warm in the colder seasons if your house isn't well insulated — plenty of that heat will escape outside.
If a home isn't insulated well, it can lose up to 35% of heat through its walls; 25% through its roof; and 40% between doors, windows, and flooring.
Before you start the insulation improvements, however, it's worth it investigating what the main insulation gaps at your home are.
11. Use smart power strips for your electronics
Since it's generally much cooler in winter than it is in the summer, you might find yourself inside a lot more. If you're inside a lot more, you might be counting on a lot of electronics such as laptops or gaming consoles to keep yourself entertained.
A lot of these electronics can still use power even if they appear to be off. A smart power strip can prevent appliances and electronics from using energy while they're off, reducing your power bill in the long run.
12. Be mindful of how you cook food
With fall just around the corner, you might be in the mood for a lot of soups or even heavy dishes to help you warm up from cold days. Luckily, you can satisfy your cravings and be energy efficient.
For example, cooking your food in batches can help save energy — you'd use a lot more power making individual servings separately.
Using a slow cooker can also help you save energy. According to a post by the Sydney Morning Herald, slow cookers use only a little more electricity than a light bulb does.
13. Use drying racks to dry your clothes
While wearing clothes just taken out of the dryer might feel nice on a cold winter day, it can use up a lot of energy in the long run. Using drying racks and air drying your clothes could potentially save you a lot on your electricity bills.
You can input the specifics of your electricity costs and dryer usage in many trusted online tools (like this one), and see how much money and energy you would save if you didn't use your dryer for a year.
14. Put on more clothing to keep warm
Just because it's a little colder in the wintertime doesn't mean that you need to crank the thermostat all the way up. Save some energy and money this winter by just wearing more layers of clothing, whether it be sweaters, cardigans, hats, or socks. You can also invest in cozy items for your home, such as blankets, carpets, and cushions.
15. Be energy conscious with your holiday decorations
Halloween is arguably one of the best holidays during fall, and you can make it even better by saving energy while you celebrate. Placing candles inside of your carved pumpkins uses no electricity, and it has the bonus of looking spookier than ordinary lights.
One other way to save energy during Halloween is connecting all of your electricity-powered decorations to a smart power strip, so you don't have to worry about turning them all off once all the trick-or-treaters have gone home. During the winter and Christmastime, you can also do this with your Christmas decorations.