With winter barely halfway through and electricity rates continuing to climb, it’s essential to find practical ways to offset the increased energy costs. Here are five effective strategies to help you cut down on energy consumption and keep your bills in check during the chilly season:
Seal Out the Cold: A drafty home can lead to soaring heating costs. Combat this by using weather-stripping around windows and doors to seal leaks. For larger gaps, employ caulking to fill them in. Consider investing in insulating blinds, curtains, and door draft stoppers to minimize heat loss further.
Take Charge of Your Thermostat: Programming your thermostat can significantly impact your home’s energy usage. Lowering it by 7°F to 10°F for eight hours daily can result in substantial savings. For instance, if your thermostat is normally set to 68°F when you’re home, program it to drop between 58°F and 61°F when you’re away. Smart thermostats can automate this adjustment, ensuring your home is comfortably warm when you return.
Harness the Power of Window Coverings: Make the most of curtains, blinds, and shades to regulate indoor temperatures. In winter, open window coverings during sunny days to let natural heat warm your home. Close them at night to retain warmth. In summer, these same coverings can help keep your home cool by blocking out sunlight.
Snuggle Up with an Electric Blanket: Rather than cranking up the heater during chilly days and nights, consider using an electric blanket. Not only does it provide cozy warmth, but it also consumes significantly less energy than running your heating system constantly. This switch can translate to substantial savings on your electricity bill.
Opt for Energy-Efficient Cooking: Embrace energy-efficient cooking methods during the winter months. Instead of relying on the oven, use a slow cooker for your favorite soups. Slow cookers are more energy-efficient, saving both time and money. Small kitchen appliances like toaster ovens and microwaves can also be excellent alternatives, leading to considerable energy savings.
Bonus Activity: Explore DIY Energy and Water Savings: For a productive rainy day activity, check out a DIY Energy and Water Savings Toolkit available at most Sonoma County Libraries. These toolkits come with free LED lightbulbs, weather-stripping, and low-flow showerheads for easy home upgrades. They also include measuring tools to help you understand your home’s energy and water consumption.
Remember, financial assistance is available to help you navigate these rising energy costs. Explore reduced energy rates, bill payment assistance, support for home weatherization projects, and payment forgiveness plans. Take advantage of available programs like the CARE/FERA discount programs, and the Medical Baseline Program and apply for a payment forgiveness plan to ensure your winter stays warm without breaking the bank.