As the most expensive time of the year draws ever near, you must have started to wonder how you can save up this time around. After all, the more you can save on unnecessary expenses, the better we can spend on the things that really matter. While festivities and gifts are usually the chief culprits in lightening our wallets, energy bills can easily give them a run for their money (pun intended). So, if you have been pondering on what you could do to lower electric bills this winter, we got you covered. Here are a few fall and winter energy saving tips to try…
Watch your energy habits: While it may seem like a Captain Obvious thing, we’d wager you’d be surprised if you tried finding out how much electricity you could save just by fixing your habits. Try the following –
- Open those curtains: Of all the winter energy saving tips you can try, bathing your rooms with good ol’ solar energy when it is abundant during the day is still the best way to lower the electric bill. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get some fresh air in, too.
- Heat only the rooms you are sitting in: Heating rooms because you might have to go into can add to your costs. Instead, heat only the rooms you are most likely to spend most of your time in. Also, switch on a fan on low speed to create a gentle updraft.
- Dial back on standby energy: Did you know all those appliances that are plugged in but not used account for 7%-11% of all household’s electricity consumption? You can reclaim your home’s standby energy by simply unplugging things when not in use. Removing a phone/laptop when it is fully charged and unplugging a TV/microwave/toaster when not in use can all seem trivial, but will be worth it towards the end of the month. What’s the point of paying for energy you are not using anyways?
- Only boil water you need at the moment: Reboiling water can easily be costing you far more than you think. If you cannot ascertain how much boiled-water might be needed, store it in an insulated container to preserve the heat.
- Use hot water bottles: Electric blankets may feel nice and fuzzy, but hot water bottles do the same thing (if only given a chance) at a far less cost.
- Turn off the exhaust fans: Because they can throw all the warm air out.
Check your roof insulation: Hot air tends to rise, which is why most of it can easily escape through the roof. Make sure your ceilings are adequately insulated and check for any damages. Experts suggest at least 25 cm of insulation for adequate protection, but you are better off getting a quote from a reputed installer.
Add humidity to your room(s): An easy winter energy saving tip is to add some humidity to your rooms. Doing so can not only help you feel better but, warm too. Humidity retains heat, so, spraying some water or using a humidifier can help you heat up your rooms, even with a lower thermostat setting.
Try heat-saving curtains: As around 30% of a home’s energy is lost through the windows, it would make sense to consider them in your energy saving plans. A wide variety of insulation attachments are available for curtains that can help you keep the heat inside. However, heavy drapes and curtains are a good choice for the winter months as they offer natural insulation. Here’s a full list of window attachments to consider for the winter months.
Put your room heaters near windows: Another way to save escaping heat is to place heaters near windows. Despite your best efforts, cold air from the outside can seep in from cracks or openings in windows. If your heater is placed far from them, you may end up with mixed results as the air keeps cooling down. Don’t place them too close to curtains or drapes, though.
Consider lowering the temperature of your refrigerator: You don’t need that fridge running at full blast when the temperature is already down. Try and find the ideal setting at which you can operate it safely. Even changing from high to medium cooling can help you save a lot.
Prepare your AC for the winter: A malfunctioning AC is an inefficient one, not to mention unsafe as well. While you should consider having a professional run a maintenance drill on your AC, there are a few things that you can do, too.
- Inspect for damage: Your AC has been working hard during the summer months. Look for rust, cracks or things come-un-done.
- Make sure your AC is clear of all debris: Consider clearing the area next to your AC external unit of leaves, stones, droppings etc. Hose the unit down for extra measure.
- Replace the filters in your AC: You could clean them, however, if they are older than 6 months, it’s better to replace them.
- Add some extra insulation: Exposed units such as wires and pipes can be bundled into thick insulation so that they remain protected in the colder months.
- Cover the unit: Place a large piece of plywood on top of the external unit to ensure snow or debris doesn’t find its way into it. Avoid wrapping the whole unit as it can trap moisture inside.
Go for solar power, if you haven’t already: A common misconception is that solar energy efficiency drops during the winter months. It’s actually quite the opposite. Cold temperatures can increase solar panel efficiency. In fact, photovoltaic cells perform far better at -25 degrees Celsius than +45 degrees Celsius. Light reflected from surrounding snow adds to their performance, too. Their output can take a hit if snow piles up on them, but since most are installed at an angle, the snow rarely stays on. Also, it’s fairly easy to clean solar panels as well.
Besides, with the number of benefits that come with going solar, it makes little sense to stay connected to the grid, especially in the long run. Interested in finding out more? We will be glad to help. A.M. Sun Solar offers a wide variety of solar financing options that can help you get the best bang for your buck.
If you’re doing your best to be energy conscious, but are still paying a lot for electricity, we can help! Give us a call at 805-772-6786 or click here to request your free solar consultation. We’ll show you how much you can save and tell you about the 30% federal tax credit that comes with your solar energy system. Let’s talk today!