Brrr, the chill in the air brings the promise of colder weather to come. Not only the dropping temperatures but also the anticipated rise in your utility bills can send a shiver down your spine. Before the weather turns too cold, adopt these five ways to lower this winter’s electrical costs.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat. Do you like the house colder at night? Newer thermostats can automatically regulate the temperature during various times of the day. And why heat your house when no one is home? New thermostats can also sense you are away and lower the setting automatically. Some of these devices even allow you to change your thermostat settings long-distance using your smartphone.
  2. Lower the temperature. Decreasing the setting on your thermostat in the winter by 7°F – 10°F can result in as much as 10% annual savings. And don’t forget your water heater. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater temperature no higher than 120° Insulating your water tank saves energy, too!
  3. Maintain your heating system. Contact an HVAC professional to do an annual maintenance on your heating system. Changing your furnace filters regularly and using the correct kind of filter keeps your system running efficiently.
  4. Check insulation and seals. Do you have sufficient insulation in your attic? Upgrade your insulation to prevent heat from escaping through the ceiling into your attic. And don’t forget to insulate the attic door. Also, repair seals around windows and doors and caulk any cracks or leaks to prevent drafts. Unless you have tight-fitting windows, you save energy costs by shrink-wrapping relatively inexpensive plastic insulation (available at most home repair stores) to your windows.
  5. Replace incandescent bulbs. Are you still using those old incandescent bulbs in your lamps and fixtures? By replacing them with LED versions, you can save 75% of your electrical usage, and the LED bulbs last a lot longer, too! As a simple energy-saving practice, turn off lights as you leave a room.

Before the mercury drops and your wallet empties, follow these five ways to save money on your utility bills this winter.