10 Tips to lower your electric BILL as colder weather begins to CHILL
by Mason PUD 3 on
October 23, 2020
Whether you are looking for some low-cost steps or investing for long-term savings, here are our best tips below.
With colder weather approaching and more folks staying at home, winter utility bills are sure to climb. Luckily, there are some simple steps PUD 3 customers can take to lower their heating bill. You can find these tips and more at www.pud3.org/saveenergy.
Schedule Your Heat and Turn Down the Thermostat
Heating is the largest consumer of electricity in electrically heated Mason County homes. Making thoughtful adjustments to thermostats will make a large impact on winter heating bills. For each degree a thermostat is turned down, a customer could see a 2% - 3% reduction in monthly heating bills. That's a significant improvement if there were no previous thermostat adjustments. Also, don't forget to turn down the thermostat and close the door in unused rooms.
Stay Away from Space Heater and Electric Fireplace
Each 1500-watt portable space heater, including those that are oil filled, can cost up to $75 to run each month. Electric fireplaces are just another version of portable space heaters and are also high users of electricity. Each heater you plug in bumps up the the kilowatt hour usage, causing a shocking bill at the end of the month. Learn more about space heaters here.
Learn More About Your Heat Pump & Make Sure it is Serviced
Be aware of how your heating system is working, especially throughout the winter. If you notice the outdoor unit (fan) never turns on or that your thermostat gives a regular message such as “aux heat” or “emergency heat”, get your heat pump serviced by a certified technician as soon as possible. Give your heat pump a check-up every year before the heating season begins. The PUD has more heat pump troubleshooting info here and a great heat pump video here.
Let the Heat Flow
Furniture, curtains, or other household items blocking wall/baseboard heaters or register vents, could be blocking the heat they are trying to deliver. Rearrange furniture and curtains to take advantage of heat sources in the home. Vacuum the heater coils (after shutting the heat source off at the breaker) and clean registers often.
Weatherstrip and Caulk Doors and Windows
Seal your home’s drafts. Locating drafts, or openings in your home is easy. There are products such as handheld draft detectors, or you can use an age-old draft detector, a lit candle. Turn off your heater, make sure no windows are open, and walk around slowly and look for disturbances in the flame. This will locate where outside air is entering the home. Once you find these drafts, repair them by replacing weather stripping, using spray foam insulation, or caulking.
Dress in Layers
Put on some layers, and wool socks to go with your slippers. Use a blanket when watching Netflix or reading.
Change Filters and Seal Ducts
Make sure the filter and return air grill are clean. If you have duct work under your home, ensure that it is sealed, insulated and not leaking precious hot air to the great outdoors. In a manufactured home, the crossover ducts can easily be disconnected or damaged. PUD 3's duct sealing program may be able to help. Call (360) 426-0777.
Make Sure You Have a Well-Insulated Home
Heat loss speeds up when the temperature is colder outside. Insulation slows down heat loss and helps your home stay warmer for longer before your thermostat makes a call to the heating system for more heat. To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. 25% - 35% of a home’s heat escapes through the roof. A quick way to see if a home needs more insulation is to look across the uncovered attic floor. If the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, more insulation is probably needed. PUD 3 may be able to help increase your home’s insulation levels. Watch a video about heat loss here and learn about insulation incentives here.
Conduct a Home Energy Survey
Due to COVID, the PUD is not currently conducting “in-home” energy audits however, we can offer virtual audits for customers who are interested and equipped to do so! And, the PUD’s Energy Efficiency Advisors are still available to help troubleshoot higher than expected consumption over the phone. Our team can also explain how you can access your own data on-line or via the SmartHub app. These are all great ways to determine the highest consumers of electricity in a home, and to see if the household qualifies for incentives on increasing a home's insulation or an energy efficient heating system. Call the PUD 3 conservation department today at (360) 426-0777 or visit our website here.
Level Out Your Bills
Use Budget Billing to pay a set amount each month: avoid cold weather bill spikes. The Budget Billing program works by estimating your yearly bill based on your past usage, and then dividing that estimated amount into equal monthly payments over a 12-month period. Your actual energy usage is still calculated each month, however the program helps level out those high winter bills and low summer bills. Learn more about Budget Billing here.
Last by not least, monitor your usage. Are your conservation efforts helping? If so, how much? Look at hourly usage data for your individual account by utilizing the PUD 3 Smart Hub phone app or by logging into your account at www.masonpud3.org. Our friendly conservation and customer service staff are standing by ready and willing to help you better understand your usage.