Now that the holidays have come and gone, our wallets and banks accounts seem to have gone with them. Being stuck inside during Minnesota’s harsh winter season can be rough on our wallets as we seem to be using more of our electricity and gas due to being at home, keeping warm. Here at the 700, we have a few easy moves that you can make to live more efficiently this winter and save up for a fun filled summer!
How can I save on my gas bill?
Control your thermostat-The biggest utility expense in the winter is heating. In fact, heating and cooling typically account for more than half of energy costs in your home. The good news is that you can save 3 percent on your heating bill for every one degree you lower your thermostat, per Jones. For example, if you normally keep your apartment temperature at 75 degrees and lower it to 72 degrees, you’ll save 9 percent on your utility bill or nine cents on every dollar. Set your heat at a lower temperature during the daytime when you are usually not home. Then, set it a few degrees higher for the times that you are home. This way, you aren’t throwing away money on keeping it heated at a higher temperature when you are not even there.
Insulate your windows- Your windows are a big factor into heating and cooling your apartment. During the winter, the cold air will find its way through. And between the cool glass and cold atmosphere, it naturally cools down the surrounding area. There are two easy solutions to keep your temperature steady so you don’t have to overuse your thermostat and run up the bill to keep your room cozy.
- Plastic wrap your windows. You can find window insulation wrap at any Menards, Lowes, Home Depot, or Fleet Farm. The average box goes for $12, which can be saved in just 2 months of using it. Follow the instructions to cover your window and keep that cold air out!
- Substitute your average decorative curtains for a warm fleece blanket. Fleece is a very affordable and insulating material. You can go to your closest fabric store and pick out your desired design to match your room. Next, just cut slits in the top of the blanket to slide the curtain rod through and say goodbye to those cold winter drafts!
How can I save on my electricity bill?
Avoid Vampire Energy Charges- A staggering $10 billion is wasted every year on vampire energy, also known as standby power, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "New devices automatically power down computers and other electronics when they are not in use. Otherwise, these television sets, video games and other electronics simply waste electricity," Jones says. Smart power strips can help. They cost about $40 and can save you $100 per year. If you do not have access to newer devices or technology, just leave yourself reminders. Stick post-it’s by the light switches to remember to turn them off. Set a sleep timer on your TV before you head to bed so you don’t leave it running all night long. If you do not use simple electronics all the time like a coffee make or toaster, unplug them to avoid wasted power going to them.
Chose Energy Efficient Lighting-Lighting has changed dramatically over the years, and the latest trend, LED lights, are incredibly efficient. For example, a 40-watt LED bulb uses only six watts of power, which is 85 percent less energy than a standard light bulb. Although LED bulbs are more expensive, they are worth the investment. Depending on usage, a single bulb could last up to 20 years and costs only 72 cents a year to operate. Plus, you can take these energy savers with you when you move.
**For more tips on how to save, check out your local utility and energy companies online for easy solutions in your location or lifestyle**