Every penny counts. Check out these 8 Ways To Save On Winter Home Bills, with tips like solar lights, opening the oven, and more.
For more ways to save, check out all of our frugal posts.
During the winter, life can get really expensive. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus life bills, it can feel like money is tight. But it doesn’t have to feel that way. You can make a few small changes that add up in a big way, especially over time.
You can make adjustments in all aspects of your life, but we’re going to focus on things that are related to your home right now.
This post is definitely focused more on keeping your home warm. If you want to keep people warm this winter, check out our Tips To Keep Your Family Warm This Winter post.
8 Ways To Save On Winter Home Bills
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Keep The Temperature Low
Heating your home is the biggest expensive you’ll encounter over the winter. Regardless of if you use electricity, gas, or wood to heat your home, the expense of heating your home adds up.
The best thing you can do is keep your temperature low.
If you have a thermostat, set it to a reasonable temperature. And don’t heat a home no one is in. Sure, it would be nice to have a toasty home when you walk in from work, but that doesn’t mean your thermostat has to be running all day when you’re out. Program it to turn on with enough time to heat the home before you walk in but not to be on 24/7.
We actually have a smart thermostat and it can sense when we’re not home. So even if we have it set to be on at a certain time, if it senses we’re not there, it will turn off. That way, we’re not heating an empty home. And if we do go out, we can adjust it straight an app from our phones. It’s super convenient.
If you have a two-story home and each floor has a different thermostat, you can set them to different temperatures. There should be an instruction booklet you can consult to figure out exactly how to set them.
If you get cold, try putting a blanket on before you put on the thermostat. If you don’t have to use electricity, you’ll save money. And not using electricity is one of the most simple ways to reduce electric bill totals.
Open The Oven After You Cook
If you have small children or pets, you’ll have to be very careful with this tip. But if you cook in the oven, there will still be heat inside when you’re done cooking. Instead of just letting it live and die inside the oven, let it heat up your home. Open the oven when you’re done baking or cooking and the heat will dissipate into your home.
Now, don’t keep the oven open completely because you risk banging your legs into that door or having a pet jump inside. Instead, just open it a crack, an inch or so will do, and the heat will still escape, meaning you can pay less in your electric bill to heat your home.
This is one of my favorite winter energy saving tips because we cook every meal at home, so we’re already using the oven anyway. Since we’re already paying to use it to cook, we might as well use it as a little extra heat.
Turn Off Your Sprinkler System
During the spring and summer, you want to set your irrigation system so it waters your lawn and keeps it beautiful. During the winter, though, you don’t need to worry about that. Turn your system off. You don’t want to be watering brown grass during the winter or, even worse, grass that is under snow.
You’ll save water, which means you’ll save on your water bill.
Change Your Air Filter
At the beginning of each season, you should change your air filter. Those things get so dirty throughout use. The dirtier they are, the harder your HVAC system has to work. And the harder it has to work, the more energy it uses, resulting in a higher electric bill.
During the winter, your HVAC system works very hard to heat your home. Don’t make it work harder because of a dirty filter.
And, keeping with the same notion, clean out the filter in your dryer too. You need to clean that more often than your HVAC air filter. You should do it after every cycle. Lint will built up in your dryer’s filter, and that makes the dryer work harder, and, just as the HVAC filter, makes it use more energy — causing you a higher electric bill. The dryer tip isn’t a winter-specific tip, though, but still good to mention.
Use Energy-Efficient Christmas Lights
The first Christmas Pete and I were in North Carolina, I had two strings of Christmas lights on our street-facing windows. My favorite part of the day was turning on the lights on the windows and our Christmas tree. I would leave them on until I was done working — at 3am.
When we got our electric bill in January, it was so high. I actually called our electric company because I thought someone was siphoning our electricity somehow.
When I called, there was a recording that said there was heavy call volume. And then suggested that your electric bill may be higher if you had Christmas lights going. I heard that and hung up. Yup, that was our issue.
So, in order to save in December but still have a beautifully decorated home, purchase energy-efficient Christmas lights. And set them on a timer as well, so you don’t accidentally leave them on all night.
Use Solar Powered Walkway Lights
During the winter, it gets darker earlier. Which means you’ll want to turn your outdoor lights on earlier. And that, of course, increases your electric bill.
If you still want to illuminate your pathway, so you’re not tripping when it’s dark out, pick up a few solar powered walkway lights. We just got a set of two LED Solar Landscape Spotlights and we’re in love with them. Now, we don’t have to turn on outdoor lights when we go out for the day and know we’re coming home when it’ll be dark.
These spotlights are solar powered, so we just leave them turned on all day long. The sun powers them, and then they start shining when it’s dark out. Plus, they’re waterproof, which is great if you live in a snowy area. You don’t have to worry about them getting snowed (or rained) on during the winter.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
So, here’s something I didn’t know for a long time. You want your ceiling fans to turn clockwise, at a low speed, during the winter. That way, your fan pushes warm air downward and pulls the cool air up. Pushing the warm air down will keep your warmer, so you won’t run to turn up the thermostat.
To check this, turn your fan on and stand under it. If you do not feel air, then it’s clockwise and set for winter.
During the summer, you want to set them counterclockwise in order to push cool air down to the ground.
Use Outlet Plug Covers
You may have noticed drafts coming into your home through your electrical outlets, if your home isn’t insulated properly. There’s a way to fix this with caulking, but that’s a bit tricky for a non-professional. A much easier way to stop the draft is using outlet plug covers.
These plug covers are typically used in homes with small children to prevent the kids from sticking anything into the outlets and electrocuting themselves. Sure, they work to babyproof your house, but they also work to seal the outlet and keep any cold air from traveling in through them.
Don’t worry about sealing any outlets that are in interior walls, but set them in outlets on exterior walls. If you use the outlet quite a bit, don’t worry about it (because taking the outlet plug off often will be more of a pain than its worth), but definitely put these in outlets that you don’t use very often. Keeping the cold out means you won’t have to pay as much to keep the heat in.
In the same vein, we also have door draft stoppers that we put in front of all of our exterior doors. That helps keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
What do you do to save on winter home bills? Be sure to let us know in the comments.