How to Lower Your Electric Bill, DIY Style

How to Lower Your Electric Bill,  Woods Insurance, Worcester, MAHere in the northeast, it’s tough to mark the end of winter on the calendar. Some consider the last snowfall the end of winter. The fact is, until the temperature outside is at least the temperature you wish to keep your house, then you’re likely to be losing heat and money throughout the entire winter. It’s common knowledge that winter brings higher electric bills. Of course, it makes sense; it’s a fact of North American life, at least for the most part. Is your home or apartment as heat efficient as it should it be?

This do-it-yourself energy audit of your home may save you a surprising amount of money when the end of the month rolls around and it’s time to pay those bills.

Eliminating Drafts

This is an easy fix, and can be done a number of ways. The cheapest and easiest way to eliminate a draft is to roll up a bath towel and place it under drafty windows and doors. You can also buy draft excluders, which are essentially long thin pillows that run the width of the door or window. Another, and often more effective, way is to line your windows and doors with weather stripping to ensure the contact between frame and fitting is air tight.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

Not everyone is aware of this old trick. It is a common misconception that ceiling fans are only for when it’s warm. Truth be told, most ceiling fans, especially newer models, have a reverse setting. This circulates hot air that has accumulated at the ceiling level, therefore increasing the temperature of the room. This is a real money saver.

Reduce Water Temperature

During installation, your water heater is typically set to 140 degrees. Quite often this isn’t necessary. If your shower or faucets feel hotter than what you find comfortable, then your water is arguably too hot. This means you’re paying to keep a supply of water at an unnecessary heat when you don’t even need it. Lowering the temperature to around 120 degrees could save you up to 10% on your water heating costs.

Storm Windows and Doors

Are you guilty of not bothering to install storm windows or doors? The effort of dragging them up from the basement or down from the attic is often too much to bear. However, the hassle is certainly worth the savings. The act of installing these windows and doors can increase your energy efficiency by up to 45%.

Watch the Thermostat

For those of you lucky enough to work from home, you can skip ahead on this one. However, not all of us have that privilege, but you do have the privilege of turning your heat down while you are out. When leaving for work, take a moment to turn down your thermostat. An eight hour work day is 33% of the day. It doesn’t take a mathematician to establish that you could take a serious chunk out of your heating bill if you add this to your daily routine.

Programmable thermostats are available for as little as $50. Those, of course, are perfect to ensure the heat kicks on just before you walk in the door.

Plastic Film Insulation

Putting up window plastic is not for everyone. Even in the winter, some of us enjoy having the freedom to open our windows. Cats and dogs that like to jump up and stare out of window can also cause a problem. The general process is cheap, much cheaper than replacing windows. Like most things though, it’s a case of you get what you pay for, so finding that balance is important. We recommend plastic film insulation the most if you live in an older property. If you have an out-of-use fireplace with a chimney or another type of vent to the outside, this would be another great area to use plastic film insulation. This is likely to be the best few dollars you have spent in a while.

Insulate your Pipes

You can reduce the cost of your hot water by insulating your pipes. Sounds easy, right? Well it is. Pre-slit pipe foam is available at most hardware stores. Not only will this reduce the cost of heating water, but also reduce the chance of your pipes freezing. For those of you who have had this experience, you know it can be disastrous and expensive to say the least.

Before making any of these home and energy improvements, make sure to read up on Federal Tax Credit. There are opportunities to receive deductions for making certain efficiency improvements.

You also want to remain on top of your homeowner’s insurance. Some insurance providers may offer premium discounts for homes that fall under certain efficiency quotas. For more information, please feel free to call one of our agents here at TJ Woods Insurance and we would be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.