How to Control the Costs of Winter "Chill"

Posted by Rebecca Prince on November 29, 2018

Young couple sitting by a fireplace

We all know that when the temperature drops, electric bills rise.  Why is this the case?  Below are some of the most common reasons:

  • You use extra hot water during a shower or bath to warm up on a cold day.
  • Because winter brings shorter days and longer nights, you use electricity for longer hours to light your home.
  • You stay indoors more during the winter, watching television, playing video games or using other electronic forms of entertainment such as your computer.   
  • You use a space heater, electric blanket, and/or engine block heater during the winter to stay warm.

But, all is not lost. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are some important steps you can take to keep your electric bill within reason during the winter months:

  • Use the sun for free heat. Open the curtains during the day to bring free heat into your home, but make sure to close them at night in order to keep the heat inside.
  • Use ceiling fans for better ventilation and airflow. Better ventilation and airflow in homes makes them more energy efficient during these cold, winter months. Making your ceiling fan turn counter-clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months.
  • Bundle up. Instead of turning up your heat, bundle up! Wear comfy sweaters and socks around your house and use more blankets.
  • Invest in an area rug. Adding an area rug to any room can help insulate its floor.
  • Only heat the rooms you use. Be conscious about the rooms you are heating. If there are rooms you never or seldom use, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air into the rooms you use most often.
  • Use space heaters where possible. You should use space heaters in the rooms where you need the most heat, which can save you hundreds each year.
  • Use a humidifier. The air inside your home can become very dry during the winter. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better. A humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set to a lower temperature.
  • Install a timer. By installing a timer on your heater to drop the heat closer to 60 degrees at night and raise the temperature back to 67 or 68 degrees in the morning, you can bring your energy costs down significantly. To stay warm at night, consider investing in flannel sheets, a warm comforter and heavier pajamas when you sleep.

By following these simple steps, you will be able to keep your budget in check throughout the winter months.  To learn more about maintaining a personal or household budget, check out our Money Smart page.

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Topics: Budgeting & Saving, Home