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Winter has arrived in St. Louis, and just like every year, you might be seeing a spike in your utility bills. Some of that increase is, unfortunately, unavoidable. But luckily there are a few methods you can utilize to make your winter payments more manageable. If you’re interested in reducing your winter bill expenditure, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
Look for Drafts
We need to identify what needs to be fixed before we can fix it. The best method for cutting down on heating costs is to look for the areas where air (and your money) might be escaping. If you don’t know how to do a comprehensive draft search, or just don’t have the time or energy for crawling around your attic, basement, doors and windows, you can request an audit from your energy company or bring in a contractor. Apart from that, there are hundreds of how-to articles and videos online.
Readjust the Temperature
Another good way to get a handle on your winter utility bills is to get a programmable thermostat that will do much of the thinking for you. You can program it to reduce the temperature when your family is gone for longer periods of time, overnight, or even for a few hours during the day when the house is empty. And you can still come home to a suitably warm house. It’s a sensible way to save energy without even having to think about it.
Check Insulation and Ducts
If your house isn’t insulated correctly, there’s likely a great deal of heat escaping through the roof. Check for any missing or poorly installed insulation. You can bring in a professional to do this, or you can do it yourself. You’ll just need to choose the most suitable insulation materials for your situation, and importantly, materials that you’ll be able to work with. Be sure to do ample research from books or the internet, or get information from your local hardware store. Some insulation materials need special treatment, and you want to be prepared to work with it safely and properly.
Furnace and Heating Maintenance
You should have regular checkups on your heating system. This is how you’ll stay abreast of what needs to be done and when, so you can ensure everything performs the way it should. The furnace requires a good amount of attention — you should replace the filter every couple months, and in some cases, that needs to happen more frequently. Keeping up with the filters can sometimes lead to a 30-50% increase in efficiency. Almost everyone will be able to replace the filters on their own.
Time Your Appliance Usage
This is helpful to keep in mind year-round. Running the washing machine, dishwasher, and even taking a shower, can use up a great deal of electricity. You can save money by engaging in these activities outside of the prime hours (before 7AM or after 7PM). This doesn’t need to make home life unpleasant, even running your appliances overnight now and again (especially on the weekends) is a way to reduce your utility bills.
Add Some Layers
You may not think this would help, but lowering the heat by a degree or two and putting on some extra layers to be comfortable will actually help you save on heating costs. Even one degree will make a difference. So, before you pack that questionable Christmas sweater away for next year, get some additional use out of it and save yourself some money.
If you want to discuss lowering your winter utility bills, or if there’s another matter we can help with, please reach out. We’re always happy to help.