Cold weather is starting to rear its head in the Bay Area, and residents are looking for ways to beat the chill. The costs associated with keeping a home warm in colder months can give you sticker shock, even if you use alternative heating methods. However, there are a number of ways you can help cut your energy costs to offset the cold front, 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 fall and winter months:
Keep an eye on your thermostat.
When you’re at home during your waking hours, 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 on your monthly utility bills.
Invest in cozy and comforting items for your home.
Cold weather often makes one want to get cozy in warm loungewear and snuggle up with a nice, thick blanket – so why not invest in a few items that can keep you both warm and feeling comforted? Shop for deals on blankets, fleecy loungewear, and anything you can keep in your home to keep you toasty without having to turn up the thermostat – you can find fantastic deals on most e-commerce sites.
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.