Keeping your home warm and comfortable during the cold seasons often comes at a high price. Electricity bills can rise steeply during this time, with everything from thermostat misuse and drafty windows to air leaks putting a big dent in the budgets of your household. While creating your power using solar panels can be an ideal solution when minimizing electricity bills all-round the year, remember that energy efficiency is a must.

 

In the depths of a chilly season, it can be challenging to think of ways to minimize your electricity usage. However, there are various things you can do to ensure you save on electric power without making considerable investments in new appliances or home remodeling.

Here are five ways you can implement to help you keep your electricity bills reasonable during the cold months.

Identify potential energy efficiency issues.

It's always good to have an energy audit carried out on your household by a professional before the cold weather begins. These audits usually involve various approaches, with advanced testing that costs a lot more than basic testing. When performing the audit, an experienced energy auditor will a couple of things such as touring your home to collect some date, interviewing you about your energy bills during winter, and carrying out a blower door test to ensure that your home is appropriately sealed from any incoming air.

Keep the cold air outside your house and the warm air inside.

Are some places in your home colder than others? Air sealing and insulation problems and HVAC unit inefficiencies of all forms force some individuals to turn to significantly inefficient solutions such as electric space heaters. While these heaters can be effective when it comes to making a room feel warmer, they are expensive solutions to an issue that can get solved via a more direct, affordable and long-lasting way.

 

If one room in your home feels colder than the others, chances are cold air is making its way inside and warm air is gradually leaking out. Proper insulation in attics and walls, shrink-wrap coating for leaky windows and minor things such as leaving your curtains open when there's sunshine and closing them during the night can assist to keep the cold rooms warmer and reduce the demand for space heating.

 

To seal the air leaks around doors and windows, use weather stripping or caulk. Also, seal any other gaps around baseboards, electric outlets, air conditioners, attic hatches, cable outlets, fans, and vents. If caulking is cracked and old, scrape it off and also replace it. When your house is air sealed, it'll stay warmer utilizing less energy. For additional savings, only heat those parts of your home that you use regularly.

Switch to energy saving bulbs

 

Lighting your home utilizes a lot of power. Switching your traditional incandescent light bulbs for new light-emitting diodes (LED) or fluorescent (CFL) bulbs is another technique of attacking the high energy bills during the cold months. These energy saving bulbs use less energy to generate the same amounts of light, and they last longer than the traditional bulbs as well. The savings from the bulbs alone is not huge, but every small bit adds up, particularly if you are feeling uncomfortable because of heat rationing and you are on a tight budget.

 

Apart from switching from the old incandescent bulbs to energy efficient options, the most prudent thing you can do is turning off the lights when you leave a room in your home. Each time you turn off the lights in an area, even for several minutes, you save energy. For those lights that remain switched on for safety purposes, like on staircases, ensure that you use low-wattage bulbs, but for the outdoor spaces, consider using lights with timers or motion sensors.

Upgrade to energy saving appliances

The electrical appliances in your home, especially in the kitchen can have a significant impact on your power bills. If your energy assessment shows that your house is effectively air-sealed and that your AC system is working properly and you are still dissatisfied with how high your energy expenses are during the cold months, switching to energy efficient appliances can be pretty effective.

 

Heating water is one of the biggest power users in every modern home. Switching to energy star-rated electrical devices is a good beginning, but the particular model you select should make a difference as well. You can also install tankless gas water heating systems to help you slash your energy bills while saving you some space in your house. This water heater system is small enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet and works using gas while maintaining an excellent flow output.

Hunt vampire power/phantom loads

From computers and television sets to humidifiers and many other small devices, every bit of power wasted typically adds up on your bills. Turning all these small appliances off is not enough. When you leave them plugged into an old-school power strip or a wall outlet, you can add a maximum of $250 to a home's annual energy bill expenses. This passive energy that draws from switched off but plugged-in appliances is called phantom loads or vampire power.

 

You can keep your utility bills down to a manageable level if you can fight against vampire power. You can go around your house and manually unplug all the appliances you are using. But, if you forget to unplug your TV every time, use an advanced power strip instead to help save some power.

 

If you are determined to cut your energy bills, first look at the biggest power users like lighting your home, heating your water and heating your home. If you're able to make some inroads on minimizing electricity usage in these few areas and lock-in competitive electric rates, you will be on your way to saving considerably on electricity.

 

While doing just one of the above tasks can help you save on electricity usage, implementing all of them will make a significant impact. If you are concerned about making a significant upfront investment, you can start with the first two tips to get the best immediate returns. The other tips will pay for themselves with time, meaning if you can't achieve them this season, you can focus on appliances, vampire power, and light bulbs and still reap the benefits.

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