If you’re looking for ways to save money, it’s all about the percentages. Let’s say that you would like to save on utility bills for the winter. To keep your home warm during the coldest months of the year, you would be paying 15% or more on utility bills.
The good news is that 50% of your home’s overall electricity usage comes from heating and cooling – so if you take active steps to make your heating and cooling system more efficient, you will save a lot of money.
Keeping your home warm is just one of the ways that you can save money this winter. Read on to find out what else you can do to keep the costs down during the coldest months of the year.
20 Ways to Save Money During the Winter Season
How many members are there in your household? If you will get each and every one to cooperate with your efforts to save money, it will add up to a lot. So after checking out the ways for you to save money during the winter season, get all the other family members to do the same. Here are the top 20 ways by which you can save money during the winter season
Use a thermostat
If you don’t already have one, use a programmable thermostat. For every degree that the thermostat is set back for eight hours, you will save around 1% of your heating bills every year. Although you can turn it down manually, you don’t want to sacrifice those precious dollars that you will save due to forgetfulness.
Go online to look for programmable thermostats that are affordable, easy-to-use and durable.
Use a space heater
Most families have that one room in the house where they always hang out. If it’s the living room or the entertainment/computer area, use a space heater and keep it at a 62-degree temperature. This will save you around $200 per year. When having one installed, make sure to place it on a level, hard surface and away from anything that is considered flammable.
Use an air humidifier
A humidifier is a great tool to use during the winter because it adds moisture to the air which makes the interior of any room feel warmer.
Reverse the ceiling fan
If you have ceiling fans, use them to make heat rise up. Flip the toggle to make it run in a clockwise direction, which allows cold air to rise and heated air to warm up the room and the walls. Make sure the speed setting is low so the air will not create a draft.
Check for faulty doors and windows
During winter, your goal is to seal as much of the heated air in as possible. This can easily escape through the gaps in doors and windows, so always check for faulty areas.
You can light incense and see if the smoke will pass through another room while the door or windows are closed. If the smoke does pass through, you can seal up the leaks using caulk. Also check out the areas where there are pipes, electrical conduits or vents.
Caulk is perfect for small gaps but for bigger ones, ask your local hardware store for a recommendation.
Eliminate wasted energy
As mentioned earlier, if there’s a room in your house where you always hang out as a family during the winter, it is best to close off all the other rooms. Turn off the lights and heaters in unoccupied rooms or unused parts of the house.
If you have an extra refrigerator in the garage which you use to keep cold drinks, turn it off during the winter. The same goes for ventilating fans in the bathroom, kitchen, and the fireplace damper if you are not using it.
Insulate your attic
The roof is one of the biggest areas where heated air from the inside can possibly escape, and where draft can easily come in. Check on your attic.
Does the insulation cover the floor joists? If not, you can add more of the same type of insulation, or one which has a better insulation rating. Ask the staff at the hardware store if there are insulation materials that you can install yourself, although you need to be careful about drywall or fireproof material coverage which is required in some cases, depending on the material that you will get.
Insulate your water heater
Place an insulating blanket on your water to keep the heat trapped. When heat is prevented from being dissipated outwards, you can save a lot of energy from being wasted.
Change your furnace filter
Even the simple act of cleaning your furnace filter can save you a significant amount of money on heating costs. With a dirty filter, air flow is restricted so the furnace works doubly hard to heat up the room.
Check on the owner’s manual so that you would know how to clean or replace the filter, and perform steps to tune it up for maximum performance right before the winter season.
Replace your lights with CFLs
This is the basic energy-saving rule that all household owners must follow. If you’re still using traditional lights or incandescent bulbs, replace them with CFLs or compact fluorescent bulbs. Doing so will save you up to 75% on utility bills for lighting.
Consider getting a home energy audit
A home energy audit is a service offered by your local electric company. It can either be done for free or for a minimal fee. So what exactly is the benefit of getting one? With a home energy audit, you would have an idea about which home appliances suck up energy the most.
Which rooms in the house require the most energy to heat up? What else can you do to lessen your home’s electrical consumption after a professional has assessed your energy usage? Even for a minimal payment, this service will go a long way towards minimizing your utility bills.
Re-position your sitting furniture
If you have a sofa, a loveseat, a couch or a favorite reading chair, do not position it in front of a radiator. The radiator’s heat should come onto you at full force, and not be blocked by a huge chunk of furniture like a sofa.
What cheaper way is there to save on heating costs than to dress as warmly as possible while you’re inside the house? Use heated blankets in your room, wear thermal underwear, layer up and drink lots of hot chocolate, tea or coffee to warm you up nicely.
Add weather-stripping to your doors and windows
Aside from the roof, draft can also escape through doors and windows. An ideal solution for this is to use weather-stripping. Complete kits are available in hardware stores so that you can go for a do-it-yourself job.
Wash clothes in cold water
Even water needs to be saved during the winter season. Instead of using the extra energy to wash clothes in a warm cycle, simply use cold water. Other ways to conserve water includes shortening your shower time, turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth or the shower off while shampooing your hair or lathering your skin.
Wash clothes and run the dishwasher only during full cycles to save on water and electricity. Again, get all family members to do this so that you can enjoy bigger savings.
Use energy-efficient holiday decorations
The winter season coincides with the holiday season, so you will use extra energy to light up those Christmas decorations. To save money, replace traditional Christmas lights with LEDs or energy-saving bulbs. Not only are they more energy-saving, but they are also built to last you for several holidays to come.
Don’t turn on the exhaust fan
If you don’t want to completely turn it off, limit the running time for exhaust fans. After you are done cooking in the kitchen or using the bathroom, turn the exhaust fans off after about 20 minutes. If you have an old model that lets cold air drop, replace it with a high-efficiency model which usually has a damper.
Put a door sweep under the garage door
For homes designed with a garage that is separate from the main house, it’s possible for the heat to escape under the door. Adding a door sweep which is a metal strip that firmly touches the floor will block any sort of air flow under the door.
Air up your car tires
When temperature drops, the pressure in your car tires will also lower. Not only will under-inflated tires possibly cause a blowout, but it can also hurt your gas mileage. This means that you are spending more than you actually have to on gas.
A simple solution is to get a cheap tire gauge, then air up each tire to the recommended maximum tire pressure based on your owner’s manual. Do this every two months to avoid the extra car maintenance costs.
Cook meals at home
Finally, during the winter season, preparing your meals at home lets you heat up not just the food – but the kitchen and the rest of the house as well. Although some of the heat from the oven does escape, the extra heat makes the temperature inside rise. A bonus is that the smell of whatever dish you cooked up will wake the rest of the house, so the kids will come running to the kitchen.
Follow these tips so that you can slash your household maintenance budget during the coldest months of the year.