During the Winter months, it can become a challenge to keep electric bills low. Between holiday decorations, keeping a home cozy in otherwise freezing conditions, and spending more time with lights on as we see less of the sun, it's no wonder that electricity bills can bulge during the holiday season.
That said, there are measures you can take to maximize your savings during the winter months. By controlling and optimizing the load your electronic devices impose, you can stay warm without worrying about your wallet!
When it comes to heating your home, there are a few things you can do to optimize your system as it is. Ensure that your vents are all clear of furniture and decorations to avoid overtaxing the heater. Make sure HVAC filters are cleaned out as well, as clogged filters can lead to your HVAC system becoming overtaxed. One of the best upgrades you can make to your HVAC system, though, is a smart thermostat. These thermostats come packed with handy features like mobile apps that allow you to change the temperature from miles away, but also have tremendous potential to save you money. Smart thermostats learn when people are away from home and optimize their on/off time so the house stays comfortable without keeping the heat running all day.
If you're having trouble maintaining the temperature of your home, you may also notice drafts through your windows or doors. The weather stripping around these openings in your home can wear out after a few years, but is generally inexpensive and simple to replace. As holes begin to form between your doors or windows and their frames, drafts can allow warm air to leave during the winter, and to enter during the winter. With this air comes moisture, which could potentially lead to other issues down the road, such as mold. Replacing the weather stripping in your home could lead to as much of a 30% decrease of heating/cooling loss, according to some experts.
We've all been there – folding huge loads of laundry can be wildly inconvenient, and sometimes you just need that one thing to have the perfect outfit tomorrow. But what you may not know is that washing a partial load of laundry takes the same amount of energy that washing a full load takes, meaning that each small load has a cumulative impact on your electric bill. Additionally, waiting until the washer is full to run it will reduce water usage as well.
Nowadays there are four main types of household light bulbs you are likely to come across: traditional incandescent, halogen, CFL and LED. While CFL bulbs were more commonly used a few years ago, LED bulbs are now largely more affordable and far more efficient than the aforementioned alternatives. LED bulbs are overall cheaper to operate, about 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and can last up to 34 years, or 25,000 hours of use. Keep a pack of LED bulbs on hand and replace burnt-out bulbs with these alternatives or replace all of your bulbs at once!
It may surprise you to know that even appliances that are turned off, but plugged in, consume electrical power. In fact, any electronic device that utilizes an "idle" or "waiting" state, such as a smart TV, coffee machine, or computer can continue to draw "phantom power" while its sensors await a state change from a remote or at the press of a button. When it comes these devices, it's better to shut them down completely and leave them unplugged If you plan to be away for an extended period.
Similarly, while holiday lighting is a great way to spread cheer to the neighborhood, it can get costly to power those lights for the hours most people are asleep and won't see them, or even during the day. Invest in a timer for each of the sockets your lights are plugged in to, and the daily cost of keeping those lights going will drop significantly, especially if you make the transition to LED-based light strands.