One of the things I dread about winter time is the increase in our utility bills. When the energy bill comes in our mail each month, I almost cringe at how much we’re paying. It seems like the cost to heat our home has gone up drastically in the past few years.
At the same time, I certainly don’t relish working, or relaxing, in a cold house. Have you ever tried to sleep in a freezing cold room? It isn’t easy to relax in that environment and it can easily contribute to the winter blues.
A few years ago, while traveling, I had no choice. The heat in the hotel I was staying in had gone on the blink. Unfortunately, there was nowhere else in town to stay. I made the best of it, but sleep was nearly impossible, curled in a ball with my teeth chattering.
The high energy costs I’ve paid over the year have prompted me to look into ways to save on utility bills during the winter months. I’ve come up with lots of ideas, some of which I’ve personally used to save money, and you can too.
Conserving water is one way to save on utility bills all year long. Furthermore, because it takes energy to heat water, both your water and energy bills could be lowered using these tips. What’s more, you can use the extra money you’ll save to offset higher heating bills during the winter.
1. Turn off the Tap
When you’re brushing your teeth, or lathering in the shower, shut off the water until it’s time to rinse. You’ll conserve water and pay less.
2. Collect Water
Recycle a gallon jug, wash it, and fill it with water when you’re running the tap to warm the water. You can do this when you’re filling a sink, bucket, cooking pan, or bathtub. Pour the collected water into the back of your toilet tank each time you flush.
3. Displace Water
Displacing some of the water in the back of your toilet tank is another way to save on utility bills. Fill a clean jug with collected water (see above) and place it in each toilet tank. Every time you flush, you’ll use less water.
Another way to save on utility bills throughout the colder months is to try to cut your heating bills. There are lots of ways you can pay less and still stay warm.
4. Turn Down Your thermostat
Several years ago, my husband installed a programmable thermostat in our home. Don’t worry; we’ve had it checked for accuracy, so we know the readings are correct.
Using a digital, programmable thermostat allows us to set our temperature preferences and forget about them. At the same time, we can temporarily override the settings anytime we want to. This helps us achieve maximum savings on our heating and cooling costs and still stay comfortable.
Our thermostat is set a little cooler for sleeping at night, and warmer while we get ready in the mornings. Throughout the day when we’re more active, the temperature dips again, but warms right before we come home. Our weekend pattern is a bit different since we may be home during the day rather than at work.
Of course, I’ve told you previously that I work from home. So, even though the temperature dips while I’m at home working, I just put on a sweater. It helps us save on utility bills and obviously it doesn’t cost anything extra for me to add a layer.
5. Cook in Your Oven
An additional money saving tactic I use during colder months is cooking with my oven as much as possible. Using my oven heats the house, which makes my furnace run a little less. Cooking at home also provides additional savings over restaurant meals or convenience foods.
6. Layer Your Clothing
As I already mentioned, I use a sweater, or sometimes a blanket, to stay warm during winter. I also layer my clothing by wearing a T-shirt with a sweater or sweatshirt over the top.
Dressing in layers doesn’t cost anything extra. I simply adjust what I’m wearing based on the temperature in the house and what I’ll be doing that day. If I’m sitting around a bit more, I dress warmer. If I’m exercising, cleaning, or cooking I might dress a little cooler.
Additional Ways to Save on Utility Bills During the Winter Months
Actually, there are tons of ways you can save around your home during cold months. Here are few additional ideas you may not have thought about.
7. Close Off Unused Rooms
You can close off unused, or little used, rooms in your home and only heat rooms you are using. Start by closing the vents and doors. Next, place rolled up towels on the floor in front of doors to prevent cold air from leaking into warm rooms.
8. Upgrade Appliances
Clearly I’m not suggesting you go right out and buy brand new appliances. Very few people can afford to do that these days.
However, if you’re going to be replacing them in the future, look for Energy Star qualified appliances. They use less energy and will help you save on utility bills over the life of the appliance.
9. Unplug Small Electronics
Whenever I’m not using them, I unplug small appliances I’m not currently using. Understandably, I only do this with appliances that are easy to plug in and unplug as needed. Coffee pots, toasters, air fryers, and small electronic devices are good candidates for this type of savings.
How does that save you money? Many sources say that electronics left plugged in bleed energy even when not in use. Therefore, unplugging them is a way to stop paying for energy you aren’t even using.
10. Consider Alternate Power Sources
Further savings on utility bills could come from considering alternate power sources. Some of these might include natural gas, solar power, wind power, or hydroelectric (water) power.
Before converting your home to an alternate energy source, carefully compare the costs of the conversion. There could be special equipment needed as well as professional installation costs. Additionally, some home appliances may need to be upgraded or replaced to run on these types of power.
11. Strategic Outdoor Planting
Did you know that strategically planting bushes, trees and other plants around your home could impact your energy bills? Thoughtful planning when you landscape around your home could reduce your winter heating bills.
12. Window Treatments
Installing curtains, blinds, and other window coverings puts another barrier between you and cold outside air. If your windows are bare, and your house cold, think about covering your windows.
This post could literally go on and on because there are lots of ways to save on utility bills in winter. But if you’ve been struggling with high utility bills, I hope at least one of them works for you.
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Do you have high utility bills during the winter months? How do you save money?