One thing that can really put a damper on the holiday spirit? Your winter heating bill. Even one of the world’s wealthiest women, Queen Elizabeth II, has been struggling to keep up with the Buckingham Palace’s $1.5 million annual energy bill, requesting government assistance to cover the cost.
So it’s no wonder that for those of you who aren’t royalty, heating bills can take a particularly big chunk out of your paycheck and holiday spending, especially if you live in one of the colder parts of the United States. Still, there are ways to cut that bill down and make it a little more manageable so you can spend the balance on loved ones this holiday or sock it away for a rainy day in your savings account.
5 Big Energy Saving Tips
We talked to several experts to get the best energy-saving tips regarding how to save money on electricity and heat this winter.
1. Don’t Heat the Whole House
Unless you live in a studio apartment, there’s no need to heat every room. “It takes a great amount of energy to keep an entire house warm in the winter,” says Josh Elledge of SavingsAngel, who also states that “There is no benefit to warming a room that you will spend little to no time in.”
Instead, shut the heat off in rooms you aren’t using, or maintain it at a lower temperature than the rest of the house. For people who cannot control the temperature in each individual room, you can close doors to prevent heating the entire house — and pocket the savings.
2. Batten Down the Hatches
A lot of your household energy costs might not even go toward heating the house; you might be paying to heat the outside which is, to put it mildly, a losing battle. “Thirty percent of energy bills float out the windows, especially in vintage older single paned windows,” says Scott Fischer, a consultant with Ciel Power, an energy consultancy company. You might also have cracks in the ceilings and walls that leak heat. The solution? Fix the cracks and buy new windows. While you’re at it, make sure that pipes, Internet and phone connections aren’t coming through loose holes in the walls that also leak heat. This will help to keep the heat where it belongs: Inside your house.
3. Wear a Sweater
Your dad was right: It doesn’t need to be as warm as you think it does. “Every degree you move your thermostat saves 3 percent on the energy bill,” says Kevin Gallegos, Vice President of Phoenix Operations at the Financial Freedom Network. The average heating and cooling bill for a household is $1,000 over the course of a year.
You can be saving hundreds off of this by turning the temp down just a little bit. Gallegos further recommends purchasing a programmable thermostat for around $35 that will allow you to take your mind off of where the temperature is and enjoy the winter holiday season.
4. Humidify Your Home
Humidifiers aren’t just for keeping the air most when you have a cold. They can actually help you to save on your heating bill during the bitter cold winter months. “Think about it,” says Chris Sands of oXYGen Financial, “that’s why wind chill is so much colder and we think of cold crisp air in the winter months.” He recommends that those who wish to save money on winter heating bills invest in a warm-mist humidifier. He claims that this small investment has paid for itself five times over, including the electricity needed to run the humidifier.
5. Ceiling Fans Aren’t Just for Summer
You have probably heard that setting your ceiling fan to run in reverse is supposed to help keep things warm during the winter months. You’ve probably also never actually tried it. Colin Martodam, General Manager of American Residential Services, highly recommends it as a way to cut down on heating bills. “When radiant heat enters your home from the windows aimed upward, the fan will help circulate warm air all around the room,” he explains.
Your winter heating bill might be high, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a few simple, common-sense steps, you can noticeably and significantly reduce the amount that you are spending every month on your energy bill. Try some of these out and let us know about the impact on your bill during the winter months.