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7 Ways to Lower Your Electricity Bill This Winter

gg2012-nest-thermostatWinter is coming, and with winter arrives colder temperatures and inclement weather. One of the downsides of this season is the need to heat your home constantly, depending on where you live. With the approaching winter, it is time to consider what can be done around your home to lower your energy bill and reduce the impact of your home on the environment with the result of saving money.

Many people do not realize how much energy they use every day. On top of intended energy use, like using the heat or turning on the lights or TV, there are sources of unintentional energy loss every day as well. For example, did you know that leaving a cell phone charger plugged in while your phone is disconnected can cause a power drain? That cord is still drawing power even when you do not intend to use it. There are many things you can be aware of for your home and office to reduce the monthly energy bill. Here are seven tips from us.

1. Invest in Energy Efficient Appliance
The first thing you can do to save energy is upgrade your appliances (refrigerator, range, washing machine or TV to name a few). According to the National Resources Defense Council, today’s refrigerators can save a family over $100 a year compared to units from 20 years ago. Similarly, washing machines from the 90’s use more energy than the units we have today to the tune of $110 a year.

2. Replace your windows and doors with energy efficient models
There is no point in heating your home if the heat is just going to escape out of old windows and window frames. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends modern double hung windows that prevent cold air from entering or exiting, depending on the season, reducing the need to run your heat or A/C as much. While these investments can be costly up front, their long term savings more than make up for it.

3. Purchase Power Strips With On/Off Switches or Timers
As we mentioned before, even when you are conscious of turning off a device, plugged in cords can still charge electricity. The best way to prevent this is to buy power strips with on/off switches. When you use one of these and turn them off, the cell phone chargers and other cords can no longer pull power. In fact, it is actually recommended to put all of your electronics on these strips in order to turn everything off all at once and save power and money.

4. Set a Range on Your Thermostat
Think of your average home. Everyone leaves for school or work early in the day and does not come home until 4 or 5pm. What is your temperature set to when you leave? Like many, you may be leaving your home at a higher temperature while you are gone, which wastes a significant amount of energy. If you set your thermostat to a range, you can turn it down a couple of degrees without worrying about coming home to a cold home. It will keep your house above a certain number but below another, balancing the need to heat or cool a home all while saving money.

5. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Modern technology has brought many changes to energy savings, such as programmable thermostats like Nest, Ecobee and Honeywell. These thermostats allow you to set schedules detailed to the minute and degree, which can grant you vast control over the temperature and energy use in your home. For example, you can set your work hours during Monday-Friday to a reduced temperature, and then when you come home, your system can automatically warm back up to a higher temperature. Alternatively, you can create detailed schedules by reducing the temperature at night while you are sleeping and then turn it up a half hour or so before everyone wakes up. Either way, these appliances let you reduce the energy you waste!

6. Upgrade to LED or adjustable lightbulbs
LED lightbulbs make a big difference in energy savings in your home. Now that they have become as affordable as incandescent lighting, it is an easy step in reducing your energy bill. Nowadays, you can even purchase adjustable lightbulbs that let you reduce the wattage in a given room if full light is unnecessary. Many high-tech bulbs can even connect to your network via Wi-Fi to be programmed from a smartphone or PC.

7. Instill Good Energy Use Habits
The biggest and most impactful changes to make in reducing the costs of your electric bill begins with you and your family. It is important to teach your children to turn off the lights as they leave a room or to close the fridge along with many other habits, such as not leaving the doors open while the A/C or heat is running. These changes are the biggest steps to take in order to reduce your energy bill.

With winter approaching, there is enough to do without worrying about the cost of energy. Using these tips, you can reduce both your bill and your impact while getting through the holidays happily and successfully.

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