The leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and everything is being flavored with pumpkin spice. Why? Because winter is just around the corner.
Wintertime often evokes charming images of snow-covered mountains, holiday cheer, and warm hot chocolate by a fireside. Unfortunately, however, winter also delivers to homeowners a not-so-pleasant gift: an increased energy bill.
The last thing any homeowner wants is to worry about an expensive energy bill when he or she is already stressed about purchasing gifts for the entire family. After all, the holidays are supposed to be about giving, togetherness and relaxation, right? So give yourself one less thing to worry about this winter season and use these ways to decrease your energy bill this winter (so you can even afford to buy your sister’s coworker’s daughter’s dog the perfect gift).
Be Mindful of Unnecessary Electricity Use (And Peak Hours): You don’t have to be an energy-efficient guru to reduce your winter electricity bill, you just have to start with a few small tasks. Although it might be hard to get used to, try unplugging all devices that you do not actively use (i.e. toaster, blender, curling iron, etc.). These things can add up and will eventually increase your energy bill overtime. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that unused, but plugged in, devices waste over 100 billion kilowatt hours per year. So think again before deciding to leave your cell phone charging all night. It is also important to note that there are peak hours in the day where electricity is at its most expensive. Power companies charge more for electricity during these peak hours, usually between 6am to 10am and 3pm to 9pm, due to the fact that these are times when most homeowners are running their dishwashers, doing laundry and blasting their heaters. If you have a flexible schedule, consider changing the times you use the most energy to cut down on costs.
Lower Your Thermostat 2 Degrees: It can be tempting to crank up your heater to 80 degrees on those cold winter nights, but little do you know, wasting that heat is costing you a fortune. Consider setting your thermostat a few degrees below comfortable and add an extra blanket to your bed. Turning your heater down just two degrees, if you are running your heater for the majority of the day, can save you up to $180 per year.
Install A Tankless Water Heater: Traditional electric water heaters account for up to 11 percent of a homeowner’s total energy bill. They keep a tank full of water heated at all times, which is a big waste, especially for homeowners who spend most of their days at the office. A tankless water heater warms up water on demand and only as needed, which can save you the cost of having to keep 40 to 50 gallons of water consistently hot. A tankless heater typically uses 30 to 50 percent less energy than a traditional water heater and operates solely on natural gas. Another advantage of a tankless water heater is that it will provide a continuous flow of hot water. This means, if you want to reward your long day with 45 minute shower, go for it! While the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is more expensive, it is sure to keep your energy bill low for years to come.
Go Low-Flow: Installing “low-flow” appliances, such as sinks and showerheads, is another great way to keep your energy bill low during wintertime and beyond. Although the words “low-flow” don’t sound terribly appealing, most homeowners report that after a while, they barely notice a difference. Since low-flow appliances require less water, less energy is required to heat that water, ultimately saving you energy and money. A great tip to save you even more money is to insulate your water tank and then set the thermostat two degrees cooler. Because of the insulation, you won’t be able to tell the water is actually colder.
Although winter is still a few months away, it is never too early to start taking the steps that will lead you to a cheaper energy bill.
If you liked these great tips, you can also check out other articles that Than has contributed to Money Savvy Living:
*This guest post was contributed by Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, former NFL player, author, and businessman.
Bio: Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, is one of the most successful real estate investors in the nation. As a graduate of Yale University and a former NFL player, Than attributes his success in sports, business, and investing to coaching and education. Than exhibited his real estate prowess as he starred on A&E’s Flip This House, is a highly sought after speaker, and bestselling Amazon author of “The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible.” Merrill is also active in philanthropic efforts and started a non-profit charity, with his wife Cindy, called Equal Footing Foundation. In addition to his own charity, Merrill spearheaded the creation of FortuneBuilders Gives; the company’s philanthropic initiative to provide opportunities for employees and students to give back to their communities.