Whether you live in an apartment, condo, or house, you can cut your costs and still stay warm and comfortable in your home this winter season. These quick tips are good for your wallet and you can start using them today to keep your energy costs down.
- Lower the normal setting on your thermostat (all day, all night, everyday). Lowering your thermostat by one degree saves 3% on your monthly heating bill, while lowering it by two degrees will save you 6% according to Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy group. The group recommends that you set your thermostat no higher than 72°F when people are home, and lower your thermostat to 65°F when you are sleeping or away from the house.
- Keep the curtains and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to warm your home, and closed at night to keep the warmth from escaping says Energy.gov. You can also tape a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on your window frame, or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold months. According to Lowes, insulating films help to retain up to 55% of your home’s heat in the winter.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F, says Energy.gov. Each 10° reduction can save you $12-$30 annually, and also reduces the risk of scalding.
- Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows to save 5-10% on your energy bills. Air leaks can waste a lot of your energy dollars but take only a few hours to seal up. Here’s how the U.S. Department of Energy suggests knocking out this easy DIY project.
- Constantly adjust the thermostat. The longer your house stays at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, reports the Focus on Energy group.
- Leave your holiday lights on all night. Not only is this a potential fire hazard, but it’s an unnecessary use of energy. Potential light viewers and neighbors, like you, will be asleep!
- Wash your clothes or dishes when the machine is half full. You save energy by doing fewer loads, and can save even more if you choose to air dry your clothes and dishes.
- Leave your electronics plugged in 24/7. When you’re away from the house, unplug your small kitchen appliances, DVD players, TVs, and computers to save energy and money. Even when they’re turned off, these electronics continue to draw a small amount of power when they’re plugged in, reports the U.S. Department of Energy. Leaving all of your electronics plugged in can amount to $75 in energy costs per year, estimates Green Living. Yikes!
To maximize your savings, download the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide. Share it with your friends, family, neighbors, and even your landlord. He or she could save energy and money too, improving your comfort and lowering your utility bills even more.