As we head into the cold winter months, our energy bills increase dramatically. Fortunately, there are a number of relatively easy steps you can take to cut down on those bills.
Battling Your Utility Bill
There are certainly some locations around the country that stay warm all year. Since our and I cannot afford to live in Hawaii, we need to concentrate on ways to cut our energy bills. At first glance, it may seem a futile act, but you will be surprised how small changes can make a difference.
The first area we have to focus on is electricity. We all waste massive amounts of electricity. While you are probably aware you should turn off appliances when not using them, do you take this practical advice to its logical end? In this case, I am talking about the thing you are using to read this – your computer. Your computer is a multiple energy using device – monitor, computer and speaker. Most of us leave it on when not using it. Depending on your particular brand, leaving it on can add up to $10 a month to your electric bill. When you are not using it, turn it off. Yes, even if it has a cool screensaver.
If you have a swimming pool, you know the impact it can make on your bill. Most people do not heat their pool in the winter, but some of us just can’t go without a warm swim. If you fall in this category, an insulating cover can make a world of difference in your heating bill. A cover not only traps the heat. It also blocks wind from blowing across the top of the water and sucking the heat out of the water. Obviously, the same thing goes for your hot tub if you have one.
Another step you can take to save money year around is changing your light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs are not so much lights as they are heaters. Light is simply a byproduct of the reaction occurring. They are also highly inefficient. Switch to Energy Star approved bulbs and you can see savings of 50 to 70 percent on your lighting costs.
Seals are a big energy issue in the winter. No, not the animals. In this case, we are talking about seals around your windows, doors and entrance to the attic. If there are gaps, even small ones, you might as well be watching dollars float out through them. Temperatures try to equalize. If it is colder outside, the heat in your home will escape through whatever gap it can find. Check all exit points and make sure the seals are in good shape. With windows, make sure to check the seal between the sheets when the window is closed. It often breaks down with the wear and tear caused by opening and closing.
At the end of the day, you can take some basic steps to cut down your utility bill. Every little step helps.
Rick Chapo is with SolarCompanies.com - a directory of solar companies .