Tips to stay warm and save energy this winter
Q: My winter energy bills are typically higher. Can you offer advice on how to lower bills during colder months?
A: Colder weather can increase energy use and bills since heating accounts for the highest wintertime energy consumption in most homes.
We use energy to make our homes comfortable. The easiest and lowest-cost way to save money on heating is to keep your thermostat as low as your comfort will allow. The closer your home’s temperature is to the outdoor temperature, the less energy is used.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a thermostat setting of 68 degrees in the winter while you are awake, and lower when you are asleep or away from home. Adding an additional layer of clothing, slippers or a hat can keep you comfortable in a cooler home.
Do you use electric resistance space heaters to heat a room or small section of your home? If so, you may see an increase on your electric bill. For example, let’s say you use a 1,500-watt electric space heater to warm your living room while you watch TV or read a book. Operating that space heater for two hours a day at the Arkansas average electricity rate of about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour will cost you about $10.80 a month. Operating that same space heater for 12 hours a day will cost you about $64.80 a month.
Air sealing can make a big improvement in the comfort of your home as well as provide energy savings. A common air sealing practice is applying weatherstripping to exterior doors and windows. You can also seal around plumbing penetrations to help eliminate drafts. A gap often exists between the drywall or wood and the plumbing pipes and drains. Filling these gaps with expanding foam can reduce drafts in bathrooms and kitchens.
As outdoor temperatures dip this winter, take a few proactive steps to maintain comfort in your home, and keep your energy bill in check.