Higher electricity bills during cold weather should come as no surprise. Because winter-temperature averages are further away from recommended thermostat settings than summer-temperature averages, it takes more energy to heat your home in winter than to cool it in the summer.
So, what can you do to reduce usage?
- Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees.
Every degree above 68 degrees will add up to 5 percent on heating costs. Lower your thermostat 5-7 degrees when leaving home for more than 4 hours. If you have a heat pump, only reduce your thermostat setting 1-2 degrees when leaving home. Avoid using personal heaters as they can be unsafe and very costly.
- Put your blinds and curtains to work.
In the winter, let direct sunlight in through your windowpanes. This allows the heat to enter your home.
- Seal up any leaks around windows and doors.
Also, check for and seal leaks around pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Look for leaks in bathrooms, underneath the kitchen sink, around pipes inside closets, etc.
- Check your insulation.
Insulation helps slow down the transfer of heat to cold and a lack of it allows heat to escape, increasing your bill.
- Reduce your hot water temperature.
Set your water heater to the "normal" setting or 120-degrees Fahrenheit unless the owner's manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting.
- Check your pool.
If you have a pool, set your freeze protection to 35 degrees F. The pump should run no more than one hour per 10 degrees of the day's average temperature. For instance, if the average temperature is 40 degrees, your pump should run no more than 4 hours. Set it to run late night/early morning during winter months to avoid having the pool pump run more than once.
- Have your furnace professionally serviced.
A professional will make sure it is operating safely and efficiently. If you have a heat pump, make sure your outside compressor is serviced as well.