With cold and snow knocking on my door here in Ohio, I am tempted to crank up the thermostat. I am anxious for spring and summer, when I can open the windows and let the old winter air out, and the fresh air in. As we fine-tune our budget at the beginning of the year, it’s definitely not too late to work on things around the house and break old habits that will result in a lower energy bill.
Here are some tips to save money by cutting energy costs.
One thing we do is turn the thermostat down. Ours is currently set for 63*, no joke. It’s not cold really, we’ve adjusted to it and adjusted our lifestyle. We use blankets while cuddling on the sofa and watching TV, we wear socks and slippers during the day. Pajamas are long sleeve and pants, and to be honest, Hubs wears a hooded sweatshirt to bed! Sure, the bathroom is a little chilly, and the toilet provides a surprising wake-up in the morning, but it’s worth it when we aren’t paying a huge gas bill (our furnace is gas, everything else is electric).
To keep the cold air out, we use draft guards at the bottoms of our doors. We have a window insulation kit (the shrink-wrap kind) to apply to our windows. We know that our upstairs is lacking insulation, and there’s a definite temperature difference between the two floors, but if it gets REALLY cold up there, we have 2 space heaters we can plug in and use.
When I use the oven, instead of just turning it off, I turn it off and leave the door open. The heat escapes into the kitchen, and for a little bit, the kitchen is nice and toasty!
We also really try to only use lights when we need them. During the day, when the sun is out, there’s no need for lights in the living room. In the laundry room, opening the blinds provides enough natural light to wash and dry with no problems. It’s good to start early on this habit when you have children; we have Chubbs remembering to turn off lights and remind him that we don’t need them when the sun is shining. He might be 5 now, but when he’s an adult living on his own, hopefully he will take some of this knowledge and put it to good use!
We have also changed our light bulbs to CFL. In our bathroom, they take a few moments to ‘warm up’ and brighten, but that’s not a big deal to us. I don’t notice this anywhere else in the house, so it must be either the brand, or the specific style of bulb that we used.
I am working on getting everyone to unplug what we aren’t using. Cell phone chargers only need to be plugged in when actually charging a device, so why leave it plugged in? It takes 2 seconds to pull the plug, so do it! The blender or slow cooker or toaster are only used for their intended purpose, so why leave those plugged in? It might not save a ton of money, but it’s something!
What are you doing in your home to lower your energy costs? Any tips or frugal ideas you want to share?