We all want to cut back our heating and energy bills. For us Vermonters, this is especially hard in the winter. This is where our energy costs soar and many of us think there isn’t much we can do about it. Actually, there is! Whether it’s that you’re hoping to create less of an impact on our planet or you just want to save some money, decreasing the amount of energy you use in your house can help. Here are seven useful ways for you to reduce your bills!
- Adjust the thermostat at night- You can save around 10% per year on your heating bill by turning down your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for just eight hours. You should consider buying flannel sheets and/or a warm comforter/quilt, and keeping your home or apartment cooler when you sleep.
- Heat only the rooms you use- On average, energy bills are $183 a month. To save some money, close and seal off the vents to the rooms you do not use, like guest rooms. This will cause the air to only flow to the rooms you need to heat, and it will be more energy efficient. Consider buying a space heater and using that in the rooms you’re heating and keeping your thermostat at around 62 degrees. You could possibly save up to $200 each year.
- Get a humidifier- Sometimes the air in your home gets dry, by buying a humidifier, the air will become moister. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better. It will help the air feel more comfortable when the thermostat is at a lower temperature. House plants also help create humidity – read about the 12 Houseplants for A Healthier Home.
- Use LED lights – LED lights use around 75% less energy and can last about 25 times longer than your ordinary non-LED lights. LED lights also create less heat and are stronger and can’t break as easy. Remember to always unplug the lights. Even if they are shut off they still draw in and use energy.
- Know your energy- Sunlight is a good source of heat, and it’s free! Make sure on days when there is sun, you have your curtains opened during the daylight hours. Even the cold, the sun still provides heat. On days where the sun is not out, do not open your curtains, it will allow cold air to creep in through the windows. Also, if you invest in thermal curtains, they will act as a barrier and will block the cold air from going into your room.
- Draft proof your doors- The gap between your door and the floor is a major heat and energy waster. To stop this from happening, you can purchase pre-made draft strips to seal the bottom of the door. You could also make your own using a pool noodle and covering it in cloth.
- Upgrading appliances- Around 20% of electricity bill’s cost comes from running appliances. By upgrading your washing machine, refrigerator, and dishwasher to energy star qualified ones, it can reduce that 20%. Energy star refrigerators use around 50% less energy than ones made 15 years ago. The washers are 40% more efficient compared to their non-energy star qualified rivals. Water heating also counts for 11% of your utility bill. Switching to solar or gas heating can save you money too, many are tank-less, which maximizes efficiency. Although upgrading these appliances is pricey, it will save you a lot more money in the long run. By upgrading your appliances, both small and large, you can save up to 75% of your energy.
Even the small things like light bulbs can save money on your energy bill. By following these fairly easy tips, (we know they sound simple, but so many people are NOT doing any of them) you can save a lot of money on your heat and energy bills. If you want to get a “deeper dive” into how you can really button up your home and cut your bills back, have our HEAT Squad energy auditors come and do a whole home audit where they can point out the top priority spots to focus on. Check out www.heatsquad.org for more information.
Author, Bailey Aines, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont part-time employee