As we trudge through what can be the coldest and dreariest part of winter, the season’s chilly temperatures and shortened days frequently lead to increased electricity usage at home. That can cause uncomfortable spikes in electric bills. You can soften the blow by expecting at least a modest increase in power bills compared to bills from the fall, of course, and, if possible, adjusting your household’s monthly budget to make up the difference.
Comfort at home is important, but the reality is that home heating is one of the largest energy expenses for most homes. This is especially true for homes with inadequate insulation and non-heat pump central heat systems. Upgrading either of those is a major expense, but there are other things you can do to get the most value from your energy budget this winter.
If you don’t use a smart thermostat to control your home’s heating and air conditioning system, install one. If that’s not practical at the moment, make a habit of decreasing the temperature in your home by up to 10 degrees before leaving for work in the morning and before turning in for the night. When the decrease in energy used for heating your home is sustained for eight hours, the savings really can add up. The thermostat will be helpful again in the summer when you will want to program it to make similar adjustments for air conditioning.
Space heaters can add a spot of comfort, but they are not efficient for heating large spaces. Using space heaters sparingly and only in occupied rooms is key to both maximizing efficiency and safety.
Blocking air gaps at doors, windows, ceilings and floors can also make a big impact, both on heater use and how the room feels. Weatherstripping around doors, caulking windows and blocking any other openings keeps your warmth inside.
If you are using heat lamps to warm spaces for animals or pets, be sure to turn them off whenever possible. These are generally higher-wattage bulbs that can add significantly to your energy usage.
As your nonprofit cooperative, TVEC wants to partner with you in minimizing your energy spending while maximizing the value you derive from it. Be sure to check out your options for daily energy usage alerts on the TVEC Member Portal or myTVEC mobile app.