How to Reduce Winter Gas and Electricity Costs This Winter [2022]

Electricity

For homeowners, the colder months frequently mean greater energy costs. The cost of heating your home may be higher than the cost of cooling it in the summer if you reside in a region of the country with severe winters.

Additionally, many individuals spend more time at home in the winter, which might increase energy demand. You can easily see how you could require more energy than at other times of the year when you consider the shorter days, the lengthy, dark nights, and the numerous holidays.

It’s crucial to save power in the winter to cut your electric costs as well as your carbon imprint. Fortunately, there are several strategies for energy conservation when it becomes cold, such as the ones listed below.

Reduce Winter Gas and Electricity Costs This Winter

Electricity

Energy costs are anticipated to rise more than typical for American homes as winter approaches. But why are prices increasing, and what should you expect to pay? How can you further reduce your bill as much as possible?

Despite being on a national scale, costs are not distributed fairly across the United States. It is anticipated that certain regions will see more extraordinary expenses than others. In addition, price volatility and surges are expected if the winter is colder than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipates.

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Let the Sun in During the Day

The sun is a great source of free heat, which is why the family cat prefers to take naps in sunbeams. During the day, you may take advantage of the greenhouse effect and let the sun naturally warm your house by opening your curtains and blinds.

But Close the Curtains at Night

Unfortunately, because they are not as well insulated as your walls, windows may also be a source of heat loss. When the sun sets, close your drapes and blinds to stop your house from becoming chilly. In order to enhance the energy efficiency of your windows, think about buying insulated drapes.

Eliminate Air Leaks and Drafts

Your home can be easily, effectively, and affordably air sealed. Within a year, caulking and weatherstripping will often pay for themselves in energy savings. For gaps and cracks between fixed items, such as door and window frames, caulk should be used. Weatherstripping can be used around anything that moves, such as moving window sashes or the door itself.

External Doors

A common source of drafts is doors. Check the weather stripping and door frame seals if your door is drafty. Apply fresh caulk to any broken seals and replace any damaged or missing weather stripping.

Windows

Windows are a significant source of heat loss and drafts, especially in older homes. Seal the window frame with transparent plastic cling wrap to insulate your windows throughout the winter. Window film is accessible at any home improvement store or online, is inexpensive, simple to install, and simple to take off in the spring. Insulating every window in your house will only cost a few dollars, but the savings on your heating bill will be significant.

Attic and Basement

Since these floorings conceal the worst air leaks, thoroughly inspect your attic and basement while looking for leaks. Seal the tiny cracks with foam or caulk. Insulation installation or replacement may be necessary for bigger gaps.

Unexpected Heat Leaks

There are several more sources of drafts that you might not be aware of in addition to doors and windows. Electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, air conditioning units, and holes in your insulation are all potential entry points for cold air.

A fire in the fireplace is a terrific way to stay warm in the winter, but when it’s not burning, it may let chilly air in. When not using your fireplace, always keep the damper closed. Plug and seal the chimney flue if you never use your fireplace.

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Close Doors and Vents in Unused Rooms

Do you have a guest room that is only used when your in-laws are visiting? a space for storing The kids could be gone at college. Regardless of the cause, if you have a room in your home that is rarely used, you are wasting money on heating it throughout the winter. Close all of the room’s doors and shut the vents. You won’t have to spend money heating an empty place thanks to this.

Stay Warm With Clothes and Blankets

Your body will keep you far warmer than your house will. Reduce the temperature and compensate by donning a stylish sweater and cozy socks while moving about the house. Under a substantial blanket, comforter, or duvet, stay warm at night.

Consider getting your dog a doggy sweater if you’re worried about keeping them warm. Cats are not advised to wear sweaters. Cats dislike clothes, but they also appear to be born with the capacity to locate the warmest place in the house.

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Reset Your Water Heater Thermostat

Water heaters are the second largest energy consumer in a home, behind heating and cooling systems. Water heating consumes a lot of energy, and the majority of people have their water heater’s thermostat set far too high.

Your water heater warms the water to a certain temperature and keeps it there continuously. That implies that whether or not you use it, your water heater just cycles on and off, continuously reheating water to that temperature. You may save a few bucks on your energy costs by simply lowering the temperature on your water heater. You probably won’t even notice the change unless you often take showers at scorching temperatures.

Every year, get your heating system inspected

Make an appointment for a yearly heating system inspection in the early winter to make sure your system is tidy and prepared to function well. A check-up can identify issues early on and spare you the trouble, misery, and cost of a breakdown during a cold spell. Because a well-functioning furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your house warm, regular maintenance will lengthen the lifespan of your system and reduce your winter power costs.

Keep the Air Circulating

Nobody disputes the effectiveness of ceiling fans in keeping you cool during the summer, but did you know that they can also keep you warm during the winter?

Ceiling fans typically operate counterclockwise, forcing air downward and creating a minor wind chill effect that makes you feel colder. The majority of ceiling fans, however, feature a reverse switch that allows them to rotate clockwise, creating an updraft that pushes heated air that accumulates near your ceiling down into the remainder of the room.

Use Space Heaters

Consider utilizing a space heater if you simply need to warm up a tiny space. Because there is no heat loss through ducting or combustion, electric space heaters are a particularly energy-efficient method to remain warm. Space heaters are great for heating enclosed spaces that you only use sometimes, like your garage or that bathroom that, for some reason, is always cooler than the rest of the home. However, compared to a heat pump or a natural gas furnace, space heaters are less effective in heating your entire home.

How Much Are Energy Bills Expected to Increase This Winter?

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, each home will pay an average of $931 for natural gas from October to March, a 28% increase from 2021. That amounts to around $155 each month for each household. Electricity costs are predicted to be $1,359 on average per home, or $226.50 a month – a 10% yearly rise.

Even if the average expenses are on a nationwide scale, they aren’t distributed fairly across the country. Some regions are expected to see greater expenses than others. Price volatility and increases are also expected if the winter turns out to be colder than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipates.

Why Will This Year’s Energy Bills Be So High?

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Due to a combination of rising demand and tight supply, energy prices will rise more than normal. The demand for electricity will increase as a result of this winter being somewhat colder than usual over the last ten years. In addition, because of this year’s significantly higher exports of liquified natural gas and the strong demand in January, U.S. natural gas stockpiles are at their lowest level in three years.

With 64% of shipments flowing to the EU and the UK, the U.S. surpassed all other countries as the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas in the first half of 2022. U.S. LNG shipments climbed by 12% from the last six months of 2021 to the first six months of 2022. The EU’s determination to cut back on gas imports from Russia, its major supplier, in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, served as the primary underlying driver of demand.

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Before the winter of 2022–2023, the EIA predicts that natural gas inventories will be 6% lower than the previous five-year average. As a result, higher wholesale natural gas commodity prices are anticipated, which would raise retail costs for both natural gas and electricity.

About 40% of all American families rely largely on electric resistance heaters or heat pumps to heat their houses, compared to about 50% who use natural gas as their primary source of heat. However, 36% of the energy produced in the United States comes from natural gas, therefore price rises for natural gas will also have an impact on electricity prices.

How to Get Your House Ready to Reduce Your Energy Bill

Houses

What can you do to get ready given that energy expenses are predicted to rise as the weather gets colder?

In the winter, running your heat at a lower setting is one of the simplest methods to reduce your energy expenditures, according to Greg Dunavant, vice president of customer operations at Gas South. For every degree you turn your heat down, you may save around 3% on heating expenses. Most people concur that 68 degrees are the ideal temperature.

Another simple method is to adjust your fans in addition to decreasing your thermostat.

If you have ceiling fans, Dunavant advises turning them on low in the winter with the blades spinning counterclockwise. Most models feature a button on the bottom of the fan motor that allows you to adjust the spin direction. The heated air that gathers on your ceiling will be distributed back into your room around the borders of the walls by the fan blades, which will draw cold air upward.

Dunavant said that switching to a smart thermostat may reduce the cost of heating and cooling.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the greatest brands available on the market, despite there being many others. To help you save up to 12% on your heating costs, it learns the temperatures you want and then sets itself depending on your preferences and schedule, according to Dunavant.

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“I recommend assessing the effectiveness of your HVAC/furnace system to keep the expenses down throughout the winter,” says Simon Bernath, chief executive officer and creator of Furnace Prices. Due to wear and tear as well as the accumulation of dirt and dust, older models won’t use energy as effectively. Prior to the start of winter, you should get them serviced.

Consider replacing any outdated equipment you have by taking advantage of the new tax credits for energy efficiency that the Inflation Reduction Act has provided.

“Many energy providers provide energy audits and can guide you in figuring out the best methods to reduce your home’s energy use, “the owner of How to FIRE and personal financial expert Samantha Hawrylack. “To assist reduce the cost of gas and electricity, you can also investigate alternative energy sources like solar power.

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