One of the most difficult parts of sticking to any household budget is knowing how much money to allocate to energy bills as they can fluctuate wildly during different seasons. While it can be difficult to know how cold the weather will turn and for how long, there are many tips to make sure that you can stick to your budget and even possibly lower your winter energy bills.
There are many free things that you can do to avoid turning up the thermostat during the cold winter months. Perhaps the best and easiest tip is to add more clothing before touching the thermostat. If you have cold feet, put on socks. Adding an extra layer such as a sweater or sweatshirt can often be the easiest, cheapest way of staying warm and keeping energy bills low.
Take Advantage of Heat Generating Appliances
Another free way to keep yourself warm is to make the most of activities that generate heat around your house. Cooking and taking showers both add ambient heat in the house. When you are done cooking with the oven, open the oven door to let the heat fill your room. Using the heat from your shower works the same way: instead of using a ventilation fan, allow the steam and warmth to travel to other areas of your house by keeping the door open after your shower.
Keep the Heat In
Make sure to keep your doors and windows shut when the heat is on in your house. If your home has a fireplace, make sure that the flue is closed when it is not in use and that there are glass doors or some other form of barrier to minimize heat loss. Turn off all bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans when not in use also works to deter any heat loss from the home.
Lower Your Thermostat
The most practical tip to keeping your energy bill down in any season is to lower your thermostat. While it may seem counterintuitive, you probably will not notice a huge difference in your comfort level if you keep your house at 68 degrees rather than at 70. Doing this alone can lower your energy bills from 5 to 10 percent on average. It is an especially great idea to make sure to turn your thermostat down when you leave the house for several hours.
This approach can also be used with your water heater. Keeping the thermostat at 120 degrees rather than 140 degrees can shave off valuable dollars from your monthly bill, and since you only use hot water a few times a day, this alteration will probably go unnoticed.
One of the easiest ways to save about 10 percent on your heating bills in the winter is to turn the thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees at night. Consider purchasing quality flannel sheets and a warm comforter for those winter months, an investment that will pay off in dividends over several years.
Make sure to only heat the rooms that are in use, conserving heat by closing the door to guest rooms or large storage areas as well as closing and sealing off vents in these rooms. Additionally, make sure to keep your furnace and vents properly cleaned and maintained so that you can both reduce energy consumption and save on your monthly bills.
If you’re currently behind on credit card debt, adjusting your thermostat may sound a bit contrived. You are not alone. At CreditGUARD, we’ve helped thousands just like you take control of their current financial situation to work toward a better financial tomorrow. Contact a certified credit counselor at 1-800-500-6489 to learn more.