The winter months often mark the highest energy usage. If you have had large electric bills in the past winter months, and want to try and reduce your electricity usage, your local HedgeHog Electric electricians have some tips for you to try this winter.
1. OPT FOR LED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
While exterior Christmas lights can be a great way to show your festive spirit, they can also be a drain on your electricity. For one thing, if you turn your Christmas lights on once night falls, your lights are likely to be on from 5 pm to 6-7 am, depending on when you wake up. That represents over 12 hours of run time, and if you use incandescent string lights, that can run up your electric bill.
Opting for LED Christmas lights can significantly reduce your electric bill, as LED lights draw far less power than any other type of light. You can pile your yard with LED lights and spend less in electricity than it would take to just trim your roof and bushes with incandescent lights. So, while LED light strings cost a bit more than incandescent lights, the lowered cost of electricity is worth it.
2. SKIP HOLIDAY INFLATABLES
Inflatable yard decorations have become more popular over the years, and maybe you’ve been eyeing an inflatable Santa and sleigh set. Well, if you are looking to save on your electrical bill, then we recommend that you say no to inflatables.
Your average holiday inflatable consumes 150-200 watts per hour, which can cost you $7-$10 per inflatable monthly. So, if you have just three inflatables, that can be an extra $30 on your next electric bill, not even including any lights you may have put up. Even worse, if you don’t turn off your decorations during the day, the consumption—and consequently, the cost—will be higher.
3. USE A TIMER FOR LIGHTS AND ELECTRIC DECOR
It can be tough to remember to unplug your holiday decorations every morning, especially with the hustle and bustle that usually surrounds the Christmas season. But leaving lights and inflatable on all day as well as through the night can really rack up an impressive electrical bill.
Instead of worrying about turning off your holiday set up every morning and plugging it again at night, you can use a timer. With a simple timer, you can plug into an outlet, you can plug your lights into the timer and program it for the time frame that you want your lights to turn on and off. This idea also works well with indoor Christmas trees, so that you don’t run the risk of your lights burning out, sparking, or causing other issues from being plugged in all day.
4. HAVE AN ELECTRICAL INSPECTION
As scary as it is to think about, house fires can be more common during the winter, as more people are indoors and putting stress on the electrical system. Along with the potential for an electrical fire, older electrical systems can draw more electricity to power your everyday household needs.
To better protect your home and reduce the electrical drain, you can have our electricians perform an electrical inspection. With this inspection, our electricians will review your entire electrical system and provide a report at the end with recommendations and highlight problem areas.
5. SEAL UP LEAKS
The more areas that warm air can escape your home and cold air can seep in, the higher both your heating and electric bill will be over the winter. Not only will a leaky house lead you to turn up the heat, but it is more likely that other household members will plug-in electric blankets, space heaters, and other energy hogs.
An easy fix for this issue is to check your home for common areas where heat can escape. Door frames, around windows, and poorly-sealed basements are some of the usual suspects. You can use caulking and weather stripping to seal up these areas and weather-proof your home more completely.
6. CONSIDER INSTALLING A SMART THERMOSTAT
We’ve all had that moment where we’ve reached work, only to realize that the thermostat was left on high, heating an empty house. Not only is that an expensive mistake to make, but with the right electrical upgrades, it is entirely preventable.
With a smart thermostat, you can control your home’s heating and cool from your smartphone with the thermostat’s paired app. That way, if you are out for the day and want to check on your thermostat, you can easily do that from your phone.
7. WEIGH YOUR SPACE HEATER OPTIONS
Running a space heater during the winter months can be an easy way to increase your electrical usage as well as trip your breakers. Depending on the space heater, wattage use and voltage can vary widely. Some space heaters can easily overspend on a circuit that has only one or two things drawing power, leaving you to go and flip your breakers back on.
Also, space heaters are not overly effective. If you are using a space heater in conjunction with your normal heater, there is likely a problem with your home’s insulation as well as air leaks. It would be better for your overall electric bill if you addressed your insulation issue rather than use a space heater.
8. CHANGE CEILING FAN DIRECTION
Did you know that ceiling fans aren’t just for summer weather? To help make your home’s heating more efficient, all you need to do is change the rotation of your ceiling fan. During the summer, the fan should rotate counter-clockwise, and during the winter, it needs to rotate clockwise to push warm air down.
There should be a small switch on your ceiling fan that will allow you to change the direction of your fan. For those fans with a remote, there may be an option to change orientation on the switch.
If you would like our electricians to help with electrical upgrades or perform an electrical inspection to prepare your home for winter, feel free to contact us. We look forward to helping you conserve energy this winter.