Special to the Village News
As the natural gas demand continues this winter, one thing not freezing is the cost of heating your home.
And according to a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com, 75% of Americans have decorated their homes for the holidays – likely increasing their electricity bills, too.
To help you manage utility costs this season, here are three tips:
1. Optimize your home for green living. Whether you’re buying a new washer and dryer or replacing burnt-out light bulbs, invest in energy-efficient appliances if you can. Not only will these shave some money off your utility bills, but they’re also good for the environment. And before plugging appliances directly into your wall socket, opt to use power strips to easily turn on or cut the flow of electricity with the push of a button.
Pro-tip #1: Switch to blackout curtains, which act as insulation for your home to keep out extreme cold in the winter. This will also decrease your reliance on a heater and can reduce the cost of your utility bill.
Pro-tip #2: If you’ve hung holiday lights for the season, consider purchasing a smart plug with a timer. You can schedule your lights to turn on and off depending on your preference, allowing you to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about unexpected electricity costs from your decorations.
2. Don’t touch your thermostat. If you’re looking for an easy way to lower heating costs this winter, consider setting your thermostat to a comfortable indoor temperature between 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit. By making this simple change, you’re lessening the amount of gas your heating unit needs to use in order to meet your desired temperature. Secure warmth from blankets and layering clothing or sweaters if you find yourself feeling chilly while at home.
Pro-tip #1: If you haven’t already done so this year, get your HVAC system serviced as soon as you can to make sure it’s functioning properly. Any issues with the operating system of the unit may be causing it to work harder than it needs to, costing you more and driving up your energy bill.
Pro-tip #2: Make sure cold air is staying outside and heat isn’t escaping by ensuring your windows and doors have proper insulation. You can pick up inexpensive insulation kits at stores like Walmart and Home Depot.
3. Repurpose old items. Rather than trashing your old clothes that are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, get creative. T-shirts can be sewn into quilts; and thicker fabrics, like wool socks, can be repurposed into hand warmers for the winter.
Rebecca Gramuglia is a consumer expert at TopCashback.