According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling make the largest portion of your annual energy costs.
In addition, televisions, computers, and dryers are other large consumers. Consider how you can make smart choices in each of these areas with the following electricity-saving tips.
Lower the Thermostat
While you want to stay cozy this winter, you could probably stand to lower your thermostat a couple of degrees without even noticing it. One smart time to lower your home’s temperature is at night when you are cuddled up under your blankets. You may find that you sleep better with temperatures between 62 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the U.S. Energy Department, you could save up to 10 percent on your heating costs by lowering your thermostat at least seven degrees for eight hours each day.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
If manually changing your thermostat twice each day is not for you, consider investing in a smart thermostat. Entry-level models are often under $100, or you might want to opt for a more expensive thermostat that learns your habits and automatically adjusts the temperature based on when you are home or asleep. These Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats can be controlled from your smartphone and use geofencing to detect your presence.
Even small air leaks can translate into substantial electrical costs as your HVAC system must work harder to combat the cold air seeping into your home. Use the following tips to eliminate some of the most common drafts.
Install new weatherstripping around doors and windows
Use caulking for leaks around pipes, window frames, and chimneys
Cover drafty windows with clear plastic sheeting
Close thick, room-darkening curtains at night
Change Furnace Filters Regularly
One of the most surprising causes of inefficient energy use and also one of the easiest to change is your furnace filter. Your furnace must expend extra energy to send air through a clogged and dirty furnace filter. Change your filter once per month, even if the package states that it could last up to three months.
Use LED Lights
Although lighting makes up less than 10 percent of your electricity bill each month, switching to energy-efficient lighting is still an easy and cost-effective change. Although they are initially more expensive to buy as compared to old incandescent lights, LED bulbs last 25 times longer and cost only 25 percent as much as older bulbs do.
Select the Correct Water Heater Temperature
Another simple way to save money is to consider the temperature of your hot water. Most tanks have at least three heat settings, while others have a dial that allows you to choose the temperature that you like. If you love hot showers, your tank may currently be set at 140 degrees. However, lowering the temperature to 120 degrees will let you save well over $400 on electricity in a single year and will also reduce the risk of scalding yourself.
Bottom line: Whether you want to make smart changes in your daily household practices to save money or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, these six tips are simple to make without being terribly expensive. Instead of huddling under blankets for the entire winter or shelling out hundreds of dollars every month to your electricity provider, you can cut many cold-weather energy costs yourself.
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