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Keeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
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Keeping Utility Bills Down During the Winter

Good Morning everyone!  I hope you’ve been staying warm through the cold weather we’ve been having.  We had a couple of 50 degree days right after the New Year started and it tricked my brain into thinking the winter was over and spring was just around the corner!  Now that it’s returned to the cold and damp weather, I’m looking for ways to keep our utility bills down while still staying warm this winter and I thought I’d share some of these tips with you as well.

Keeping Utility Bills Down During the WinterKeeping Your Utility Bills Down During the Winter

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From what I’ve found during my research, there’s two primary areas that you can focus on to keep your bills lower during the winter: 1) optimizing your heating and 2) alternate heating ideas.  Some of these suggestions are free (yay!) and some will cost you a little money.  But I encourage you to read through each list and pick out what will work best for you and your family this winter!

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Optimize Your Heating-

  • Turn lights off in rooms not being used
  • Air dry any clothes that you can to save energy from running the dryer
  • Use candles to light your room.  You can even plan a romantic dinner together and eat by candlelightKeeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
  • Use the light from the TV to light your room – this goes well with the snuggling discussed above!
  • Run the dishwasher when you have a full load
  • Run the washing machine when you have a full load
  • Flush the toilet when absolutely necessary
  • Turn water off when brushing your teeth
  • Keep the shower short
  • Don’t run the water when hand-washing dishes – turn it on to wet the sponge and dish and then turn it back on to rinse the dish
  • Make sure heat registers, vents, and radiators are not blocked and allow the heat to spread through the room
  • Close doors to rooms that are not being used (be mindful of heating rooms where plumbing is located to keep pipes warm to prevent bursting)
  • Use a door stopper to prevent drafts – especially for doors to rooms not being used (click here to learn how to make your own – courtesy of coloradomoms.com)
  • Install weather-stripping on your exterior doors – you can use foam or felt weather-stripping on the inside of the door frame
  • Seal attic openings to prevent drafts and heat loss
  • Seal leaks around heating vents and ducts
  • Walk around your house and check for cold air leaks and seal them – check around door frames, windows, skylights, vents, appliance vents, plumbing and electrical fixtures and use caulk for small cracks and foam sealer for bigger gapsKeeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
  • Use plastic sheeting or bubble wrap to insulate window panes
  • Add attic insulation – I know this is getting more costly, but this is something you should consider if you have poor insulation in your attic and it will help keep utility costs down year-round and lasts for years to come
  • Insulate hot water pipes – use foam sleeves to cover hot water pipes in basement or crawl spaces
  • Insulate hot water heater -check your user guide to make sure your hot water heater can be wrapped.  Be sure not to cover the burner access on gas or propane water heaters and check with utility company for details or instructions
  • Lower hot water temperature – try setting it at 120 degrees to save on energy
  • Keep the thermostat set on a lower temperature – you can save money by keeping the temperature lower than you normally would (use some of the Alternate Heating Ideas to still stay warm in your home)
  • Install a programmable thermometer – this allows you to automatically lower the heat when you are asleep or away saving money
  • Close chimney dampers – once the fireplace has cooled and you’re not going to be using it, close the damper to keep the heat in your house
  • Use a chimney balloon – this is a reusable plug that keeps the warm air from escaping up unused chimneys
  • Replace furnace filters monthly – this will help to keep your furnace working as efficiently as possibleKeeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
  • Have your Central Air serviced and cleaned – you should consider doing this once or twice a year to keep it in good running order
  • Add a panel of aluminum foil behind radiators or wall mounted heaters to reflect more heat out into the room
  • Turn the ceiling fan on low with the blades pushing the air down to keep the heat from rising – there should be a knob or switch you can adjust on the side of the ceiling fan.  Turn the fan on low and stand below it – if you feel air blowing on you then the blades are set for winter to push the hot air down.  If you don’t feel any air blowing on you then the blades are most likely set for summer to pull the air up.  Change the switch and test it again to ensure the blades are blowing the warm air down
  • If you have an open floorplan, try to use curtains and room screens to block doorways or close off sections of the room not being used

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Alternate Heating Ideas-

  • Keep blinds down and curtains drawn at night and during overcast or extremely cold days to prevent cold air from seeping in through the glass
  • Use thick curtains or drapes to help insulate windows
  • Put blinds up and pull curtains back when sun is shining to help heat the rooms
  • Use area rugs on bare floors to help insulate
  • Use extra blankets on the bedKeeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
  • Use an electric blanket on the bed
  • Use a down comforter on the bed
  • Use flannel sheets on the bed
  • Use a space heater in the rooms being used
  • Make a paint can space heater or tea candle space heater – these heat up a room so effectively and they cost pennies to make!  (follow the links to see how to make your own – courtesy of theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com and instructables.com)
  • Wear layers of clothing
  • Put clothes on as soon as they come out of the dryer for a warm treat
  • Make sure to keep your feet warmKeeping your Utility Bills Down in the Winter
  • Wear a hat to prevent heat loss
  • Use a throw blanket when relaxing
  • Snuggle up with a loved one for movie night
  • Use rice or bean pillows – like a hot water bottle of old, you can microwave these rice or bean pillows and wraps and use them to keep you warm and toasty (click here to learn how to make your own – courtesy of mycreativeenergy.wordpress.com)
  • Drink warm beverages like tea, coffee, apple cider, or hot cocoa
  • Eat something warm like soup
  • Leave the oven door open a crack after baking – this will heat the house while your oven cools back down and doesn’t use any excess energy
  • Don’t run the vent fan in the bathroom; the humidity from the shower will help heat the room
  • Leave the bathroom door open when showering to help heat the adjacent rooms
  • Use a humidifier for warmer air circulating

I hope this list inspired you to cut utility costs this winter!  I’d love to hear some of your creative ways to keep warm and save money during the cold weather so please comment below for your tips and tricks.  And don’t forget to share this post so everyone can stay warm and toasty this winter while keeping their wallets full!

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This article has 4 comments

  1. Suzane Cybulski

    All great ideas!!! Thanks for sharing! An additional idea or two ….someone recently told me that if you keep your body core warm your entire body will be heated. So wearing a quilted vest over a top will help with this. Also, wearing fleece wrist warmers will help to warm you up as well as they heat your pressure point in your wrists.

  2. Kristine-Bites of Flavor

    Great tips! My husband and I work from home so our bill has increased significantly! Def going to do several of these. Thanks for sharing!

    • Erin Mackey

      Thanks Kristine, I hope they help! I work from home part of my work week as well and we’re trying some of these this winter.

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