Fall is in full swing, and it won’t be long before winter is here, which means it’s cold now, but it will only be getting colder. With the colder weather, many people expect to see an unavoidable increase in their utility expenses. However, we’re here to tell you that while you may see an increase in your utility expenses this winter, there are things you can do to help make it easier to manage.
The first step in managing increasing utility costs this winter is understanding the cause of the increase. Sure, turning off a light when you leave a room and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use will help, but these things make up a relatively small percentage of your overall utility costs. So, what’s the culprit then? Heating and cooling costs! On average, these make up almost half of overall utility costs, with the cost of heating water coming in second. There are a few reasons you might see these costs rise in the winter. Factors include:
- How cold winters get in your area. The colder it is the harder your furnace will have to work to heat your home.
- How well insulated your home is. Less insulation means more heat is escaping your home making it harder to keep warm.
- How often you’re home. People tend to be home more often in the winter than they are in the summer, meaning they tend to use more energy in the winter.
Lower the Thermostat
In the bitter cold of winter, you may find yourself wanting to make your home as warm and as cozy as possible. This often comes with a higher temperature on your thermostat. However, the higher you set your thermostat the more expensive the bill as your furnace will have to work harder to reach a higher temperature. Lowering the temperature on your thermostat, even by just a couple degrees, can go a long way toward lowering your bill, with savings of up to 10% per year1. To really maximize your savings, you could also consider lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees while you’re not home, and only turning it back up once you’re back in. Some may tell you this is counterproductive by stating your furnace will have to work too hard to heat your home back up, thus negating the savings you intend to see from lowering the thermostat in the first place. However, this is simply a myth and using this strategy will save you money in the long run.
To see even more savings on your utility expenses this winter, lend your furnace a helping hand by insulating your home.2 Heat is going to escape your home, this is unavoidable, and the faster heat leaves your home the harder your furnace will need to work to keep your home warm. By adding some extra insulation in the winter months, you’ll be able to keep the heat in your home for a longer period of time. Some ways you can insulate your home this winter include:
- Weather stripping your doors and windows.
- Use insulation film on your windows.
- Use thick or thermal curtains.
- Put rugs down on any hard floors.
- Use a fireplace plug.
Nothing beats a nice, hot, steamy shower in the winter when the weather is ice cold, but these hot showers could be increasing your costs in the colder months. If you do enjoy a hot shower, you may find yourself wanting to stay in longer than usual when it’s cold. Of course, the longer you’re in the shower the more water you will use and the higher your water bill. On top of this, your water heater must work harder when it’s cold to heat up your water and keep it hot, which can increase your bill as well. To combat this, try setting a timer for yourself when you shower to ensure you get out within a reasonable time and save water. Going along with our previous tip, you can also help your water heater in the winter by insulating your pipes. Doing so is relatively easy and you should be able to easily find the materials to do this at your local hardware store.
We hope these tips help you keep your utility bills down this winter as you stay warm. Keep in mind, if you’re ever in a bind paying a bill and need a hand, you can log in to your Cash Central account anytime, 24/7 to request a loan and get funds as soon as the next banking business day.*
*Exact funding times depend on the terms of your financial institution. In California, deferred deposit loans are provided in accordance with the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation pursuant to California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law, Cal. Fin. Code §23000 et seq.
1Flaherty, Elizabeth. (2023, Feb 1). Retrieved from: https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/does-adjusting-your-thermostat-really-save-you-money/
2Energy Star. Retrieved from: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/methodology