The holidays are officially here, which means more family functions like dinners and parties. You may even be hosting some of your extended family at your home this season. In the midst of all the hassles of holiday planning, it's easy to forget about conserving your energy bills. If you're not careful, you may find your electric bill rising because of increased usage. Energy bills usually rise in the colder months. It's important to keep your house warm and to have hot running water when the temperature drops. However, there are still ways that you can stay cozy indoors and cut down your energy bills!
Watch Your Water Temperature
In order to cut down your energy bills, consider your water temperatures. Having hot water is important for taking showers and washing dishes. However, you should check to make sure that the temperature isn't too high. Most water heaters are preset to keep the water at 140 degrees. Using water that's too hot can lead to scalding or other injuries.
According to the Department of Energy, you can save between 3 to 5% of your energy costs by turning the temperature by 10 degrees. A water temperature of 120 degrees is considered to be ideal. Setting it lower is usually safe, but keep the weather in mind. If your pipes get too cold, they're likely to freeze or burst.
When the temperature outside drops below freezing, you're definitely going to use more energy. There are a couple of different ways to mitigate this. Consider turning your heat down when you leave the house or when you go to sleep. Studies show that you'll get a more restful sleep in a colder room anyway.
If it's a sunny day, you can still open the curtains for more heat even if it's chilly. When it gets too cold outside, you can use insulated curtains to trap more heat inside your house. If you'll only be in one room for most of the day, you can turn down your thermostat and use a space heater instead. Most models are relatively inexpensive and don't use a lot of electricity.
Consider Insulation to Cut Down Your Energy Bills
Insulating your home for the winter is a great way to keep too much cold air from leaking in. One way is by using window film. This wrapping helps keep your home warm in the colder months and cool in the summer months. Window film can also help block out harmful UV rays.
If your house has an attic, make sure it has proper insulation. If your attic isn't insulated, it will trap heat that could be used to keep the rest of your house warm. An uninsulated attic can also develop eroded or cracked walls. If there are any heating ducts in your attic, you should close them or put a layer of masking tape over the vents.
Replace Any Damaged Filters
In order to cut down your energy bills, you should be checking your furnace filters regularly, especially when winter rolls around. A filter that has never been changed is probably clogged with dirt and other debris. This causes more dust to accumulate in the home, which could aggravate allergies.
Too much dirt in the filter will cause the heater to strain itself and break. If your filters are too dirty, switch them out with new ones. You can also clean the dirty ones yourself to save more money.
Don't Let Any Heat Escape
Running your heater with windows and doors open defeats the purpose of warming your home and costs you money. If you have a fireplace, don't forget to close the damper. You may also want to consider getting door sweeps to prevent drafts. Some electric companies will even install these on your exterior doors for free!