Growing up in Pennsylvania, I’m no stranger to brutally cold winters. As a kid, it was something I learned to get used to. My parents were always coming up with creative ways to reduce the cost of our heating bills. Let’s just say wearing several layers of fleece to bed became common practice for me. Even now as a twenty-something figuring out how to make it on my own, I’ve adopted a lot of those techniques from my childhood to save money on my energy bills. While some of them have been a bust, I’ve found a few gems that worked for me. Moreover, it is essential to have a reliable electricity company and consider different options. I’ve learned that it’s even more important to look for an electric company near me, so if there’s a problem they need to solve, they can quickly get to me. Here are some creative ways to reduce your energy bills that are worth a try.
Program Your Thermostat to a Lower Temperature
For many of us, the thought of lowering our thermostats in the winter is enough to send us into a state of panic. However, you can see savings of up to 10 percent per year just by setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees lower for eight hours a day. I like to do this at night because I don’t notice the drop in temperature while I’m sleeping. You can also do this during the day if you work a regular 9 to 5 job, and then simply turn the thermostat back to a comfortable temperature once you get home. I find that I like to turn up my thermostat after I get home from work and I’m beginning to settle in for the night, but you can incorporate this into whatever schedule you have.
Lower Your Hot Water Temperature
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you keep your water heater’s thermostat set at 120 degrees. Most hot water heaters are set to 140 degrees, which can be scalding to run your hands under. While it does a good job of killing bacteria, anything above 120 degrees is a bit unnecessary.
It’s estimated that your hot water heater could cost you close to $800 each year to run. While I wouldn’t cut out the hot water, you can significantly lower your bill by keeping track of hot water usage and lowering the faucet.
Know Thy Ceiling Fan
Did you know that celling fans cool people not spaces? Sometimes we just leave ceiling fans running like a background fixture on a movie set we don’t even notice. Always turn your fan off when you leave the room.
Know thy fan. When programming a ceiling fan, you can change the direction in the winter to blow hot air up. In the summer, the blades would be changed to the opposite direction to blow cool air down on you.
Utilize Solar and Energy Efficiency
Did you know that LED lighting is up to 80 percent more efficient than fluorescent lighting? Taking advantage of energy-efficient lighting can drastically reduce your energy costs, and it benefits the environment as well. Another measure that can be taken to save energy is to install solar panels on your home. I remember the day my family had solar panels installed on our roof and ever since then I’ve been intrigued by how much of a difference solar energy can make. If you don’t want to hire someone to do this, you can purchase a DIY kit and install your own solar panels at a relatively affordable price.
Seal Any leaks
There’s no greater enemy to your HVAC system than a room with a leak in it. These can be found in your ceiling, underneath your door, or on window sidings. Leaks allow cool or hot air to leave the room, forcing your HVAC system to run longer to compensate for the change in temperature. Remember, HVAC systems always run at the same power to cool or heat your house. They just need to run a little longer and waste a little more electricity to achieve that desired temperature you want. Beyond this, you should always clean your HVAC filters to ensure that airflow is not obstructed.
Let in the Atmosphere
Want to know how people used to keep warm? The sun and fires! The sun is actually a great source of heat if you’re looking to heat up a room without running your HVAC system. You can harvest the sun’s heat using solar air heaters. They are essentially glazed glass panels that trap infrared light and other electromagnetic radiation to heat up the area surrounding the room. Installations only run about $50 and they don’t require any retrofitting. They install right in your window.