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Nothing wears down your monthly budget like the utility bills. And now that winter is here, it's about to get even worse. With people spending more time indoors in the winter, energy usage increases even more. What's more, the extremely cold climate in this season demands the frequent use of heating systems. Since you can't survive without heating the house, this causes higher monthly utility bills. Fortunately, there are ways to save on winter utilities that seniors can rely on. These tips are simple to implement and will ensure there's no strain on their finances. With that said, let's have a look at them:
Tips to Save Money this Winter!
Insulate the Windows
It's important to double-check windows for any drafts. If you notice any, seal it right away using a caulk. Often, the edge of the window frame is the potential spot for air leaks. And if this happens during winter, it can significantly affect the internal temperature of your home. To avoid overusing energy compensating for air leaks, seal the window perfectly.
Another easy and affordable way to do this is by covering your windows with shrink film. This creates another layer to catch the cold air and keep your home warm. The film can then be removed in the spring!
Lower the Thermostat
This may seem ineffective, especially during winter when you need the house to be warm. However, it's one of the best ways to reduce your utility bill significantly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the thermostat by 7-10°F for 8 hours a day can lead to a 10% decrease in the energy bill!
With that said, the recommended temperature is about 65-68°F. This can sound problematic to some seniors who are not great at tolerating the cold. However, you should not worry. We have other ways to keep warm without draining your pockets. Read on to get those tips!
Use Energy-Saving Appliances
If you are still using an older fridge, microwave, oven, or room heater, consider upgrading. With the latest models of home appliances, you can reduce the use of energy and cut down your monthly bills. Of course, this will cost you when purchasing these appliances. However, they can save you money on monthly energy costs in the long run.
Also, Lower Water Heater Temperature
It's easy to focus on the furnace and forget about the household water heater. But, like the air heater, it can also drain energy and cost you substantial monthly bills. Therefore, you should lower it to a temperature that you feel comfortable using without getting chills.
Also, you can reduce the frequent use of hot water in the household. This will lower both the energy bill and water bill. For instance, spending less time in the shower will save both energy and water. Likewise, while in the kitchen, avoid leaving the water to run while cleaning the dishes.
Drapes will be helpful not only in winter but also in summer. Due to their thickness and double layer, drapes can prevent the escape of warm air. As a result, the furnace or air heater works less in keeping the room warm.
During summer, drapes can also prevent the entry of hot air from outside As such, the AC unit will run less. In both cases, the drapes must be kept closed to be effective.
Seal Drafts on External Doors
After securing your window from drafts, do the same with your door. Look for any potential leaks and seal them. With this step, it's easier. Just walk to your door and detect if there's any temperature change. When there's a leak, you will feel the cold breeze from outside.
Regularly Maintain the Heater
Both air and water heaters are the leading causes of higher energy bills. And if any of them work inefficiently, the bill could get higher while service quality reduces. But by hiring professionals to inspect and update them, you can reduce energy consumption. When they come, have them inspect any leakage along the heat ducts and check the room temperature. Also, get a technician for the water heater to ensure it's functioning well.
Consider Using Additional Sources of WarmthAll the above steps are centered on reducing the consumption of energy. But what if you can use an alternative source of warmth that doesn't rely on electricity or gas? Yes, there are other ways to offset the cold indoors that don't rely on energy. They include:
- Dress Warmer
If the house doesn't seem warm enough at 65-68°F, put on some warmer clothes. Since you are indoors, feel free to dress in whatever feels comfortable and warm. Even heavy cotton sweatpants are not a bad idea. You can also get a pair of thick and warm socks for your feet. And finally, wear a fluffy jacket to seal the heat within your body. Not to forget, wear indoor gloves if your hands are cold.
- Use the Fireplace
A fireplace can generate enough heat to warm up your living area and keep you warm throughout winter. It also reduces overreliance on the central heating system.
While warm air is treasure during winter, it pays to prevent it from escaping. Therefore, consider using heat-resistant glass doors. This will prevent the entry of cold air and the exit of warm air through the chimney. In addition, consider other leak-proof techniques that will enhance the energy efficiency of your chimney.
- Grab a Blanket
Just like putting on more warm clothing, you can also enhance body heat by using blankets. And if you are implementing these tips to reduce energy bills right away, then purchase good warm blankets. Then, after winter, you can store them for use in the next cold season.
- Dress Warmer
Please note, with age, the body's ability to resist cold is significantly weakened. In your efforts to lower utility bills, do not ignore your health and safety. Practice these tips safely and consult a professional as needed.