How to Reduce an Electric Bill During the Winter

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Thermostat
Thermostat (Image: Honeywell)

Cutting costs on monthly utility bills is one of the popular money saving opportunities. It seems that in both winter and summer, the electric bill is always the highest of the utilites but also the most needed. It is often hard to figure out how to save money on something that you cannot live without, but with these tips, your electric bill will be lower soon.

Things You'll Need

  • Thermostat
  • Furnance filter
  • Plastic sheeting

Call your utility company and ask if they have opt-in pricing programs. These include Time-of-Use Meters and Think Smart Meters. Time-of-Use Meters charge a higher rate during peak times. It is similar to free night and weekend plans used by cell phone companies. With this program you can do dishes, laundry, and vacuuming during cheaper hours. Think Smart Meters work in a similar way. The electric company will tell you how much it cost you to use electricity each hour and you can use high power items during cheaper hours.

Turn down the thermostat. Lower the room temperature as much as possible, but at a setting that is comfortable. If you feel chilly, wear layered clothing. Also, turn it down when you go to sleep. Your body will not notice the difference while you sleep under blankets.

Change your filter. Filters should be changed on a schedule. A well maintained furnace will run at a higher efficiency. Older furnaces will be inefficient as well and pose a safety risk. The cost of buying a new furnace will save you money in the long run and far outweighs the safety hazard.

Allow natural light in during the day. The light coming in from the sun will warm the air. Remember to close them in the evening.

Use plastic sheeting. Adding a layer of plastic sheeting over your windows will help insulate them and keep cold air from coming in and warm air from going out. Plastic sheeting can be purchased at hardware stores.

Change ceiling fans to clockwise. This will suck air up and keep the warm air moving through the room. Be sure to change the fans back to counter-clockwise during the summer.

Use exhaust fans sparingly. These fans pull enormous amounts of heated air out of the home. Do use them during showers to keep mold at bay.

Check the temperature on your water heater. Water heaters are highly inefficient. A temperature of about 120 degrees should do well for everyday use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase a digital thermostat. These will auto change the temperature for you.
  • Do not use your oven for heat. It cost more than running the heater and is very dangerous.

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