Looking to cut back your utility bill costs? Does the price of winter have you in a panic? Would you like to even out your utility bill throughout the year? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you’re in luck – we’re going to look at ways to save money on your utility bill this winter and save you some cash in the long run!
In a 2013 post we looked at general utility bill saving techniques and ideas to use year ’round, but today we’ll look specifically at winter time utility usage, because lets face it… there are quite a few things about winter that make it expensive.
Why Is Winter So Expensive?
- Shorter days in the winter means less hours with natural sun light available. Many families end up using the lights in their homes for a longer period of time than they would in summer months as a result.
- Colder temperatures outside means we spend more of our time indoors. When we’re indoors we tend to turn on electronics and devices that use electricity – such as a radio or the TV – that we wouldn’t have used as much if we’d been spending more time outside.
- Colder temperatures means you’ll be using your furnace regularly to keep your family warm. Heating costs can be one of the largest expenses of winter unfortunately.
In an effort to waste less energy and keep my utility bill lower I’ve been researching ways to help save money this winter – here’s a list of…
50+ things we can all do to Save Money this Winter:
- Have an inspection to make sure your heating system is in good working order.
- Keep furniture & rugs from blocking heating ducts.
- Use extra blankets on your beds.
- Clean or replace your furnace filter often during winter months.
- Set ceiling fans on low, pointed towards the ceiling to help circulate the warm air that rises.
- If radiators are located next to an exterior wall place a piece of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back towards the house.
- Use your thermostat. When away from the house for longer than 5 hours turn the temperature back to 60 degrees.
- Turn down the temperature of your house by 1 to 2 degrees – even a small difference in temperature will make a huge difference in your utility bill.
- Only run heat in rooms that you are using. Close ducts in rooms rarely used and keep doors to that space closed.
- Turn off the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher, and allow dishes to air dry instead.
- If possible, use low heat and quick wash cycles on your dishwasher to decrease energy use.
- Clean your dishwasher’s drain regularly. Food particles can get caught and cause your dishwasher to run less efficiently.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
- Showers use less hot water than baths, so take a shower instead. (Why not consider showering with your spouse while you’re at it – you’ll use less energy and help keep the romance alive all year long!)
- Dial down the water heater a degree or two. This requires less energy to heat the water, and since it’s only a small change in temperature you probably won’t notice a difference.
- Install a low-flow shower head to use less water.
- Turn off the water (especially hot) when its not in use. (Ahem, like when husband is shaving.)
- Fix leaks or dripping faucets to cut back on wasted water.
- Insulate hot water pipes that run through cold places like exterior walls and basements.
- Put an insulating blanket around your water heater to hold heat in.
- Always use cold water instead of hot if it will get the job done.
- Perform a “flush” of your water heater at least once a year to remove sediment deposits that cause it to run less efficiently.
- Thaw food before heating in the microwave or oven to shorten cooking time.
- Cut vegetables into smaller pieces to shorten cooking time.
- Clean the grease splatter pans on your stove top. They reflect heat towards your pans better if they are shiny and clean.
- Watch for wasted fuel in your oven and stove. Yellow flames can signify that too much fuel is being emitted. Contact a professional for assistance.
- Use glass & ceramic dishes in the oven. They hold heat better and will cook more efficiently.
- Use a crock pot instead of the oven when possible – it uses less energy in most cases.
- After cooking with the oven and turning it off, leave the oven door ajar to allow the heat to dissipate in your house. (Important note: You should NEVER use your oven to heat your home or leave the door open if the oven is still running.)
- Use the window of your oven to check on food instead of opening the door. (Up to 75 degrees of heat can be lost with just a quick check of your baked goods.)
- Wash & rinse laundry on cold when possible.
- Match the amount of clothes in your washer with the load size to avoid using excess water.
- Hang dry your clothes as much as possible. Installing a clothing rod is a very inexpensive way to do this indoors and as an added benefit the clothes will already be on hangers. (Always air dry whites outdoors, the sun acts as a natural bleaching agent.)
- Don’t overload your clothing dryer. It will dry clothes more efficiently if they have room to tumble.
- Clean out your lint trap often to promote energy saving air flow.
- Dry your laundry in consecutive loads to benefit from the left over heat of previous loads.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer often to look for what’s available. Each time you do precious energy is wasted. Instead think about what you want before opening the door.
- Allow food to cool before placing in refrigerator. Hot foods cause your refrigerator’s motor to work harder to maintain it’s temperature.
- Full freezers use energy more efficiently than empty ones. If your freezer is getting empty consider filling extra space with bottles 2/3 full of water to help.
- Remove excess ice buildup inside your freezer.
- Open the blinds instead of using lamps during the day time.
- Turn off electronic devices (or even unplug them) when not in use – and in the winter when you’re stuck inside make a conscience effort to not turn on electronics just because they’re there.
- Only run humidifiers and dehumidifiers when needed.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs.
- Place outdoor lights, security lights & holiday lights on timers to avoid running when not needed.
- Install dimmer switches to use only the amount of light you need.
- In cold weather months, cover windows with insulated drapes to avoid heat loss.
- Dress for the weather – by wearing long sleeved shirts & pants with slippers in your house its much easier to be comfortable after having turned down your thermostat a degree or two.
- Help stop cold air drafts from entering your home by placing a rolled up blanket on the floor in front of doorways.
- Place blankets conveniently throughout your house to encourage family members to stay warm by covering up, rather than turning up the thermostat.
- Insulate your attached garage – including garage doors – to help hold in heat
- Only turn on the lights in the rooms you’re using. We can often make do with much less light than we use.
- Look into alternate heading methods, many people save a lot of money by using alternative fuels such as wood burning stoves to heat their homes.
Which items on this list does your family already employ or do you plan to start this winter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.