How Can I Reduce My Electricity Usage During Winter?

In the depths of a cold winter, it can be difficult to think of ways to reduce your electricity usage. There are, however, a number of things you can do to save on electricity without making major investments in home remodeling or new appliances. Here are four easy ways to reduce your electric usage:

Add Some DIY Insulation

Heating your home will always be your biggest electric cost during the winter months. By insulating and sealing your home more efficiently, you may save big on electricity. Clear plastic sheets on window frames combined with bubble wrap taped directly onto windows can provide an extra layer of insulation against the cold. Drapes or shades over windows provide further protection, though you should open south-facing drapes on sunny days to allow the sun to heat your house. To seal air leaks around windows and doors, use caulk or weather stripping. Also, seal other gaps around electrical outlets, baseboards, attic hatches, air conditioners, cable outlets, vents, and fans. If caulking has become old and cracked, scrape it off and replace it. Once your home is air sealed, it will stay warmer using less energy. For further savings, only heat the parts of your house that you use frequently.

Control Your Water Temperature

Heating water can account for up to 25 percent of your electricity. Don’t worry though, you can cut that percentage by doing a number of things. We recommend turning your water heater temperature down to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Use less hot water by installing low-flow faucets and showerheads. Insulate your hot water tank and the pipes leading up to it, but be sure to leave the thermostat exposed. If possible, wash whatever laundry you can in cold water. Take showers instead of baths, and turn off the water in the shower while you shampoo or soap.

Turn Off Your Lights

Lighting your home uses up a lot of electricity. Apart from switching out your old incandescent bulbs for energy efficient alternatives (a good idea, in general), the most efficient thing you can do is turn off your lights when you leave an area of your home. Every time you turn off your lights, even for a few minutes, you save electricity. For lights that remain on for safety, such as on staircases, use low-wattage bulbs. For outdoor areas, consider lights with motion sensors or timers.

Unplug Your Electronics & Appliances

When left plugged in, TVs, DVD players, computers, gaming consoles, and kitchen appliances use electricity—even if they are turned off. To avoid the inconvenience of switching off appliances and home electronics individually, plug them into power strips so you can turn off everything at once. Remember, screen savers do not reduce a computer’s energy use, but programming it to sleep mode saves power. The hardest part of saving on electricity is adapting to new habits. If you are determined to lower your bill, look first at the biggest energy users like heating your home, heating your water, and lighting your home. If you are able to make inroads on reducing energy usage in these areas and lock-in a competitive electric rate like those offered by Amigo Energy in Texas, you’ll be on your way to saving significantly on electricity. And as your energy advisor, Amigo Energy offers great benefits that help customers track and manage their home-energy consumption.

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