A viral Facebook post by Autumn Brandon from Clarkston, Michigan showed an argument that’s been going on between parents and kids, and even between partners, for as long as thermostats have been hanging on walls. It’s the argument about the ideal temperature and the high priced energy bills that follow. Brandon posted a sign on her thermostat that said:
Unless you answer YES to all of these…DO NOT TURN ON HEAT!!!
Are you wearing a hoodie, pants, socks? Is it November? Do you pay the gas bill?
So as the temperature drops and there’s a chill in the air, don’t fret about keeping the thermostat so low you have to wear mittens. Here are a some tips for keeping your energy bill down during the chilly fall and frozen winter months to come.
- Take Autumn Brandon’s advice. Don’t expect to be as warm in the winter in your shorts and tank tops as you would sitting by the pool. Layer up, add a sweater, and find yourself a pair of warm slippers or an extra fuzzy pair of socks. You can endure a couple of degrees cooler when your toes are toasty. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-to-70 degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs, according to the Consumer Energy Center.
- Get a programmable thermostat. Don’t pay for heat when nobody’s home or when you’re all asleep. Turning your heat to 55 or 60 degrees during the day when you’re all at work or school cuts down significantly on the amount of energy it takes to keep it warm, especially when it’s really cold outside. Ma
ny new thermostats are even tied to phone apps so you can turn it up before you leave work or turn it down from afar if you forgot.
- Call your utility company. Often, your own utility company will have rebates for upgrading your old heating and cooling systems. Sometimes, they may even send out a technician to help you discover why your home isn’t energy efficient, and many do it for free or for a small fee. Xcel Energy, for example, offers an interactive do-it-yourself assessment tool, as well as rebates for installing a geothermal heat pump or installing a backup system for your heat.
- Seal in the savings. Take care of cracks and leaks where air can leak out. Think about your windows, door, vents, and electrical outlets. Don’t forget under your sink and inside of closets. If you’re considering new insulation, don’t forget that there are products out there, like spray foam insulation, that you can invest in to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. New insulation can really help reduce your bills long-term.
- Change your furnace filter. Many people don’t even think one of the easiest fixes to a more efficient heating system – their furnace filter. Changing your filter once a month can help to reduce your heating bill since it keeps your furnace from working harder than it has to. Cleaning out your ventilation system, too, might make your system run as if it were just installed.
- Move your furniture. In the summer, a sofa in front of your register probably won’t make a difference. But once you’re using your heat, you’ll want to make sure your vents, registers, and baseboard heaters are clear of any clutter that will keep it from warming up the space. The heat will be in the air instead of in your couch cushions. You should also double check to make certain your 3-year-old hasn’t stuffed his toys anywhere they shouldn’t be.
You might not have to arm wrestle your significant other to turn up the heat if you’re already making sure to do what you can to keep your bill at bay. What other things do you do to stay efficient in your home?