Published November 5, 2020
Winter came a bit earlier than normal this year, so sorry if this feels a little late. Usually, we don’t want to jinx it by posting winter tips before November!
You are probably tired of thinking and talking about how unusual this year has been — I know I am. Well, your energy bill will likely be unusually high this winter. Being home more usually results in higher energy use. You may have noticed this already in your spring, summer, and fall bills.
Maybe we’ll luck out and have a mild winter? That would help. Outside temperatures have a direct impact on our heating bills. But, without the crystal weather ball, we encourage you to follow our tips below and do your best to stay comfortable while monitoring your energy use this winter.
- Adjust your thermostat. The Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 68 degrees when you are awake and turning it down by up to 10 degrees while you are away or asleep. Adjust a degree or two at a time to find the right balance between energy savings and staying comfortable. Never lower the temperature below 55 degrees in the winter — keeping the thermostat at 55 or above will prevent frozen pipes.
- Primary home heating fuel is tax-free from Nov-April. If you see sales tax applied to your electricity or natural gas bill after November 1, call your utility. It could save 6.8 percent or more on your bill.
- Use the sun. Open window treatments to let sunlight in during the day to heat your home. At night, close your blinds and curtains to trap that heat inside.
- Cover up air leaks. Use weatherstripping, caulk, or plastic film on windows if they are leaky. Also, use drapes and door draft stoppers to keep cold air out.
- Cook comfort food efficiently this winter. Bake in batches and freeze extras. Cook your favorite soup and chili recipes in crockpots. Slow cooked food tastes great and uses less energy.
- Service your furnace/boiler and change furnace filters regularly. This will help maximize air flow and efficiency. Check to see if your utility offers a rebate for getting your heating system serviced. If you are concerned about people in your home during COVID-19, ask your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) company about their safety protocols.
- If needed, use space heaters safely and efficiently. Electric space heaters use a lot of energy so only have space heaters on when you are in the room and keep items around them at a safe distance.
- Bundle up. Warm clothes, blankets, and socks are key in the winter. Rugs are another great way to help your home feel warmer.
- Inspect and clean your fireplace. Make sure your fireplace is safe. Close fireplace dampers when you are not using it to prevent heat from escaping.
- Celebrate the holidays with LED lights. If you decorate with lights, purchase LED holiday lights and keep them on timers.
If you would like more customized suggestions to reduce energy use, please contact CUB for a free one-on-one bill consultation. We know many people are struggling to keep up with energy bills right now. Please visit our webpage with COVID-19 related resources. The page also includes information about income qualified assistance programs to help further reduce your winter energy bills.
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