Lower Your Winter Electric Bill With These Simple Tips

As temperatures drop and days become shorter, people spend more time indoors. And more indoor time means more electricity use. Energy savings gained by shutting down air conditioning are offset by greater use of lighting, furnaces, and appliances. But you can pocket some real wintertime savings by planning ahead and eliminating at energy-wasting habits. Most of these ideas cost little or nothing to implement, too.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Air conditioning? In winter? You bet. We’re not talking about cooling the air, we’re talking humidity. Dry air feels cooler than moist air, and between the naturally low humidity of our high plains and mountain environments and moisture-robbing furnaces, indoor humidity in Colorado can fall to 15% or lower. It’s not only uncomfortable, but can lead to health problems, especially for people with respiratory issues.

If you have a forced-air furnace, you may be able to add a humidifier that operates automatically, but there are other ways to add moisture to the air, too. Stand-alone humidifiers offer a choice of cool mist, warm mist, and steam types, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Whatever type you choose, the goal is to bring your home humidity level up to 40-60%. Relative humidity above 60% invites growth of mold, bacteria, dust mites, and other nasty business.

A programmable thermostat is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy costs. Lowering your thermostat 10 degrees at night can save 10-20% on your heating bill. Make sure it’s installed where it gets a good average temperature reading to be most effective. And it won’t do much good if it isn’t programmed. PS – lowering your thermostat a single degree can reduce energy consumption up to 3%, so that sweater you got for Christmas can actually save you money.

If you have forced-air heating, make sure the filters are clean at the start of the heating season and check them monthly for build-up. It doesn’t take much to cause your furnace to work harder and run up your electric bill. 

Keep Cold Air Out and Warm Air In

Air infiltration and heat loss are some of the biggest contributors to high energy bills. Make sure window and door seals are in good condition and use foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls. A simple test for a good seal is to take a piece of paper and close the door or window on it. If you can pull it out without it tearing, it’s time to replace the seal.

Needless to say, keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, including doors and windows in attached spaces like garages and sunrooms. Open drapes and blinds on windows that get direct sunlight for some free passive solar heating, but be sure to keep them closed when the sun goes down and in rooms that don’t get direct sun.

Consider using ceiling fans in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings. Hot air rises and a gentle downdraft keeps it from piling up where you don’t need it. Fireplace flues and exhaust fans send air you’ve paid to warm out of your house. Don’t leave fans running after they’ve done their job, and if a romantic glow from your fireplace is what you want, consider more efficient gas logs or pellet stoves. Consider putting timers and motion sensors on exhaust fans and room lights. 

More Ways to Save

  • Have your furnace inspected and tuned up by a professional.
  • Close off unused rooms and partially shut the fresh air vents.
  • Lower your water heater temperature to 125 degrees and consider insulating it and the pipes leading out of it, especially if it is in an unheated space like a garage or crawl space.
  • Check for and repair leaks in your ductwork.
  • Inspect and upgrade your insulation if needed, especially in the attic.

The pros at Allstar Electrical Services want you to get the most efficient use of your home electrical service and appliances. We have over 25 years’ experience in working with designers, builders and contractors into play for you. We’re A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau and winner of a 2013 Super Service Award from Angie’s List.

So if you need to install or move a thermostat or want to consider ceiling fans, timers, or motion sensors, give Allstar Electrical a call at 303.399.7420 or schedule a free consultation on our website, www.allstarelectrical.com. Use our online service request and we’ll give you a printable coupon good for 10% off your service fees.

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