As winter has finally started in Texas, our gas bills also start to steadily increase. While electricity costs may decrease as your air conditioning stops being used, it’s nice to have a little extra money in your pocket, especially over the holiday season where one may have to buy gifts for Christmas,Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, and any other holidays that may be celebrated in the winter season. Even if you aren’t buying any gifts, saving money is something that almost everyone loves doing. Here are just a few tips and tricks to keep your energy bills lower!
1. Take advantage of the sun. While this may seem intuitive, open your curtains to windows that are facing the sun during the day, and then close them during the night when the sun goes down.
2. Cover drafty windows. Even though your windows may be closed, they’re probably still letting in some air. Cover them more by taping plastic wrap over your windows in the colder months. If you have a little more money to spend on this, you can start to consider buying insulated drapes or even invest in window treatments to make your windows more efficient.
3. Detect any leaks and fix them. Seal the air leaks around any pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
4. Lower your water heater costs. Consider turning your water heater from Hot to Warm to lower heating costs in the winter!
5. Lower your holiday lighting costs. If you put up holiday lights every year, consider using LED lights or a timer that turns on and off your lights every night and morning! If you don’t put up holiday lights, consider checking your light appliances and seeing that they are all LED or EnergySaver lights.
6. Bundle Up! This is one of the easiest ways to save money! Instead of turning your heater up, wear some fuzzy socks and a warm sweater, or wrap yourself up in a blanket!
7. Use your ceiling fans to your advantage. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.
8. Adjust your thermostat. You can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed, and turn your thermostat down when you sleep or are at work!
9. Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.
10. Invest in insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold air in homes without proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape!