Having trouble paying costly winter electric bills? Electric and utility bills can easily get out of hand during frigid winter months. In fact, Americans paid $1,700 to heat homes with oil — and another $700 to use natural gas for heating — from 2007 to 2012, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports. Moreover, bills can spike by hundreds from November to March. Here’s what to do to save money on electricity:
Seal Up Your Home
Many homeowners are paying for heat that escapes out of leaky windows and doors. Homeowners can drastically reduce heating costs by using weatherstripping or caulk around windows and doors. The U.S. Department of Energy also recommends sealing up “air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (plumbing penetrations), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.” Homeowners should also install energy efficient window covers during the winter, and/or cover leaky windows with thick, heavy drapes or curtains.
Pick Up a Programmable Thermostat
Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you are sleeping, or while you are at work. Using a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to save on electric bills; the Department of Energy reports that homeowners save at least 10% annually after purchasing these easy-to-use thermostats.
Compare Electricity Providers
All electric utility suppliers are not created equally. If you live in the state of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Texas (or the District of Columbia), electricity companies actually compete for your business. Choose electricity providers that best suit you. Some providers offer competitively priced plans, different payment options, or even incentives for using clean, efficient energy sources.
Don’t let winter electricity rates run away with all of your money. Lower bills by sealing off air leaks in your home, programming your thermostat, and making a point to choose electricity providers carefully.