Winter has (almost) officially arrived in the Bay Area, and residents are looking for ways to beat the cold. The costs associated with keeping a home warm in cold months can give you sticker shock, even if you use alternative heat methods. However, there are a number of ways you can help cut your energy costs, and many take almost no effort.
Staying warm in the winter doesn’t have to break your bank. Here are some simple and innovative ways to keep down your energy costs in the upcoming winter months:
- Keep an eye on your thermostat. When you’re awake at home, it’s a good idea to keep your thermostat as low as comfortably possible. If you move up the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees higher when you’re asleep or out of the house, it can save you about 10 percent a year on your heating bills. Having a programmable thermostat can make it easier to regulate your temperature without additional stress.
- Turn off the lights (if you don’t need to use them). Something you may not know is that lighting tends to account for 25 percent of the average electric bill. It’s easy enough to remember to always turn off the lights when leaving a room, and keeping the lights off when it’s sunny in the house. Switching to LED or CFL bulbs will also make a big difference in your electric bill.
- Take advantage of the sun’s warmth. Keeping the curtains of your south-facing windows open during daylight hours will allow sunlight to naturally heat up the rooms in your home. At night, close the curtains to lower the chill you’ll get from cold windows. Using the sun instead of your home’s thermostat will save you money in the end.
- Improve the way you decorate for the holidays. If you decorate your home’s exterior with a brilliant light display over the holiday months, you probably already know that outdoor decor can be astronomical. Use LED string lights to help cut those costs, and look into how they can be effective throughout your home.
- Go unplugged. Another thing many people may not know is that roughly 75 percent of energy consumption comes from home electronics that stay plugged in. All you have to do to save a chunk of change on your next electric bill is unplug anything you don’t need to use, even if it’s just a toaster or coffeemaker.