It’s starting to look like spring (mostly!) and with warmer weather comes naturally lower heating and electric bills. Hooray! But there are still chilly mornings (and whole days, really), even in spring, that make me want to turn up the heat and draw a nice hot bath. This is the Pacific Northwest, after all. And while I love being warm and cozy, I don’t love shelling out the dollar dollar bills. We all want to save money. I mean, I need that money for craft and home supplies! Let’s be real.
Anyway, I have found several helpful tips that can keep your heating and electric bills down, even when it’s still a bit chilly outside. These have definitely saved us some money and will continue to do so over time!
1. Turn off lights and unplug items not in use
I know this one is super simple, but it’s often something that we all forget from time to time! Who hasn’t left the TV on as background noise when you were working on something, or left a light on in your bedroom and then walked away? I know I have! A simple rule is this – if you aren’t using it, turn it off! If you aren’t actively watching TV, flip the switch. If you unplug it, you’ll even save a bit more because you won’t be using residual background power. The same goes for computers, phones, and small appliances like toasters and blenders. If you aren’t actively using it, unplugging it from the outlet will save you money over time!
2.Turn off the pilot lights for gas fireplaces
We have two gas fireplaces in our house, one in our master bedroom and one in the living room. They make for very cozy, snowy, winter nights, but we definitely won’t be needing them as the weather warms up. Hubby and I didn’t know this moving in, but even though the fireplace is off, the pilot light (which stays on all the time and is a tiny blue flame) actually drains a ton of energy and money! Yikes! Consult your fireplace’s manual or check online for a safe way to put out the pilot light. Relight it again when you plan on using it in the winter!
3. Turn down your water heater settings
Another less well-known tip has to do with your water heater, which can generally be found out in your garage or sometimes an interior closet. There is a little dial on your water heater that can be turned up or down and determines how much hot water it will produce. Most houses come with the water heater dial somewhere in the middle,to upper edges of the dial, but it doesn’t really need to be set so high! Turn it down a few notches – you’ll still have enough hot water to shower and do everything you normally would, but you’ll be putting dollar bills back into your pocket!
4. Repair window seals or make your own draft guards.
A lot, and I mean, a LOT of heat in your home escapes from improperly sealed or out-of-date doors and windows. Single pane windows lose heat at a rapid rate and even double-paned windows can be infective if they have a broken seal. Check for air escaping by putting your hand or a piece of paper by the edges of all windows and doors, if you can feel cold air or a slight breeze, that means your heat is getting out of those cracks! You can save a ton of money by investing in new windows if yours are out-of-date or by having them re-sealed by a professional. If you don’t have the cash out of pocket to do either, a quick and cost-effective money saver is to make your own door and window guards out of a bit of fabric. Here is a link to a good tutorial!
5. Keep the heat off/down and utilize warmer clothing
This last one is the hardest for me. I hate being cold. I like to be able to walk around my house without my parka and snow boots. But I’ve come to the realization that while I want my house to be a nice 70+ degrees all the time, I know that I could be using the money spent on heating to buy me a plane to ticket to somewhere that is actually 70+ degrees! If you aren’t going to be home, or are in bed sleeping, it’s much more cost-effective to turn your heat off or at least down. We have our set to about 59-60 degrees when we aren’t home and when we are about to go to bed. If it’s a particularly chilly morning, by all means turn it up a little bit, but then turn it off after a short period of time. If your house is sealed well, the house should be able to retain the heat for some time without actually having the heater going! Another simple solution is to just add more layers. I have a nice long fuzzy sweater that I use as a bathrobe and it keeps me warm, even when the heat is off!