Winter has come and the energy bill causes a nightmare for many people, which is why they try to learn how to lower the electric bill in winter.
And there are many ways that can help you achieve that goal and save some money to spend on other aspects of life and provide for yourself and loved ones.
I will help here learn some of the best practical ways that can save you a lot of money on energy bill during winter months and cold weather in general, and with as low investment and high return as possible.
30 Practical Ways to Lower Electric Bill in Winter
1 – Dress Up Wool & Use Blankets
Cold weather is the main reason for increasing the electric bill in winter in apartments, houses, offices, and almost everywhere else.
You need to heat the space and the water from a low degree to a comfortable one in every place you are in order to enjoy living and be able to work efficiently.
However, you don’t necessarily need to use that much of energy for heating the space, as you can warm up yourself by first wearing heavy clothes made of wool, and by using blankets or hooded blankets when relaxing on the couch.
This will allow you to keep the heating system on a lower degree, or even turn it off, which saves you a lot of money on the winter electric bill.
2 – Use Heated Jackets
In addition to dressing up in heavy clothes, you can get a heated jacket that can be adjusted to three different modes, and it works on a battery that can work for up to ten hours and can be recharged.
This will keep your upper body warm even if you don’t turn on the heating system.
3 – Wear Socks & Slippers
Feet are the first parts of your body to feel the cold weather when you are walking, and even when setting down as they are usually touching the ground.
That’s why, you would be better off wearing socks and/or slippers all the time, instead of keeping the heating system working in full capacity all the time.
A small investment in few pairs of thermal socks can help you reduce the electric bill during winter significantly.
4 – Use Carpets & Rugs
Another way for keeping your home or apartment warm and save on electricity during winter is by placing carpets and rugs on the floor where you walk or stand usually, which reduces your feeling of cold weather.
It acts like an another insulation layer that prevents heat dissipation through the floor, thus, requiring less usage of electricity to heat up the space.
5 – Heat Up Only Used Spaces
Instead of heating the whole apartment or house, consider heating only the places that are occupied.
If there’s a spare room that is not occupied on frequent basis, then you might need to turn of the zone of the heating system that heats that room.
6 – Close The Doors & Use Door Sweeps
Try to keep the doors closed between the different rooms, or between a room and a corridor.
This will prevent the heat from escaping from the room or space you are occupying, thus, reducing the electric consumption instead of letting the heat drifting to other areas and requiring the heating system to keep working in full capacity.
Another thing to be aware of is that even with the doors closed, the air might flow to outside a certain area from the little space under the door, and it causes continuous leakage in the heat, which requires the heating system to work more often and consume electricity.
Using door sweeps can prevent this leakage and save you money on the winter electricity bill.
7 – Check Out Insulation Everywhere, Attic & Basement
Having a good insulation is necessary to keep the spaces warm as wood and concrete are not ideal in providing thermal insulation.
Do a check on all the walls, internally between different rooms, and walls connecting the place to the outside environment, and see if there’s any wall that is not properly insulated.
Additionally, the basement and the attic can be a source of cold temperature that is cooling down the whole place, and therefore, using more energy for the heating system.
You can insulate the attic with the use of fiberglass, iron wool, or cellulose, and despite the seemingly high cost of insulation (around $1.5/$3 per square foot, and a national average of total cost of $1,850 depending on the material and house area as per Home Guide), but you can use this as a long term investment as it will save you a lot of money on the energy bill during winter in the following years.
The same goes for insulating the basement of a house, as the concrete foundation and walls are not good when it comes to Thermal insulation.
There are many insulation material types and strategies for basements depending on different factors, such as the fact that the basement is finished or not, which is why it is a good idea to consult a specialized contractor in order to know what suits your place best.
8 – Close Fireplace Dampers When Not in Use
Just like you don’t want to keep the doors and windows open, you also need to pay attention to the fireplace damper when the fireplace is not in use.
Leaving the damper open means that you allow the hot air to drift all the way up the chimney to the outside, as the hot air is light compared to cold air, which causes natural upward drift when allowed.
9 – Check The Sealing of Windows, Doors & Walls
Small gaps in the framing of windows and doors, and even in the walls might cause a continuous leakage of hot air to outside the place, or even between different rooms in the same place, thus, causing the heating system to operate longer than necessary.
Check out around the windows and door frames from inside and outside in order to notice any gap that might exist, or notice any fail in caulking or weatherstripping.
Fix any sealing failure with the necessary material such as silicone, self-adhesive sealing strips, foam, weatherstripping, …etc.
Similarly, inspect the walls for any gaps that might cause leakage and fix the sealing properly or call experts to do the necessary inspection and fixation.
10 – Use Air Curtains
If you have an area where many people keep entering and leaving on frequent basis, especially at work places, then be aware that anytime the door is opened, the heat will escape outside causing a drop in the temperature in the heated area.
The solution to this is installing an air curtain above the door where so that it creates a barrier between the tow areas separated by the door, maintaining the heat inside and minimizing the electricity consumption in winter.
11 – Heat Only to a Comfortable Level
It seems easy to lift the setting of the thermostat up by few degrees, but be aware that every one degree of higher temperature causes a significant increase in electric bill during cold weather.
As per the Department of Energy, a family that turns of the thermostat from 56° back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, could save up to 5% to 15% a year on their heating bill, and if your heating system is powered by electricity mainly, then you might save money by doing the same.
Try to keep the thermostat setting at a low level when you leave home, and experiment with different lower levels of temperature when you are at home in order to find one the is low, but still comfortable for you, taking into consideration the recommendations mentioned above concerning dressing up and having a proper insulation.
12 – Use a Smart Programmable Thermostat (Scheduling)
Instead of forgetting to change the heating settings when you are outside during winter, which causes an unnecessary consumption of electric power, you can invest in a programmable smart thermostat that can be used to schedule certain settings in specific times in order to make sure that you won’t keep the heating system work in full capacity when you leave home.
There are many brands that manufacture smart thermostats like Honeywell, ecobee, Nest, and others.
13 – Clean HVAC & Furnace Filters
A dirty filter can cause not only the air quality to drop, but also, it will reduce the air flow, which causes the heating system to work on full capacity longer than necessary in order to increase the temperature of a place to the desired degree.
Depending on the filters used in your HVAC units or furnace, you either need to replace them every few months as per the manufacturer’s instructions, or they could be of the reusable type that can be cleaned in order to increase the air flow again.
14 – Use Double Glazing or Storm Windows, or Shrink Wrap Windows
Double glazed windows are the windows that have two plates of glass in parallel with a separation of around 1-1.5cm that is filled with the Argon gas, which helps keep the temperature difference between the two sides of the window and prevents heat dissipation.
Replacing the normal windows might take some work and cost, and if that is not an option, then maybe using storm windows can be an alternative.
Storm windows are an extra layer of windows that can be installed on the outside of a normal window, and their purpose is to provide an extra layer of insulation against wind and weather changes, in addition to protection against water leakage.
A third and cheaper option would be to use shrink wrap material to seal the windows from outside and prevent air drafts and provide some insulation against heat transmission.
15 – Use Sunlight for Heating & Lighting
Since you spend more time inside during winter, heating and lighting are the most electricity consuming loads, and reducing them can significantly reduce the money you spend on electricity during fall and winter.
Try to rely as much as you can on using the natural light to light up the house, apartment, or workplace, and at the same time, allow the direct sunlight when available to get in through the windows in order to provide some heat and help warm up the place faster.
Also, try to as many of the tasks that require lighting during the day using the natural light, and try to switch off the lights at night if you were to watch something on the TV or work on your laptop.
16 – Close External Window Shutters at Night
Once its dark already, there’s no point of keeping the window shutter open since you won’t benfit from natural lighting.
And closing the window shutters at night, or even during the day for the places that you don’t occupy and where you don’t need the natural light, can also help keep your electric bill low in winter.
If your windows don’t have an external shutter, then consider closing the curtains at least.
17 – Fix Any Leakage in Hot Water
We spend lots of energy on hot water during winter, and this water is either heated with electricity, or with fuel, but it requires electric pumps to keep it circulating in the pipes all the time.
And if there was any leakage in the hot water pipes, then this means that you need more electricity and fuel to heat more water in order to substitute for the leakage, and we need the pumps to run longer in order to provide hot water to wherever it is necessary.
18 – Insulate Boiler & Pipes
Similar to the point above, if your boiler and hot water pipe are installed in a cold surrounding, they will be losing heat and this will cause more energy to be consumed in order to keep the water temperature at the preset level.
For a boiler, consult an expert for the possibility and feasibility to add an extra layer of insulation, and for the pipes, some of the most popular types of insulation material that you can install by yourself are neoprene and polyethylene foam.
19 – Water Saving Shower & Faucet Heads
You can do the same necessary works such as showering and washing stuff with a lower volume of water.
And using water saving heads for showers and faucets can not only reduce the water bill, but it can also decrease energy bills in winter as it can help you reduce the hot water consumption, which requires energy to heat up and circulate.
20 – Use Central Heating Instead of Space Heaters, Unless..
Unless you want to heat a small area, then you can use energy efficient space heaters.
If you want to heat up a complete home or apartment, then probably using a central heating system is more efficient than using separate space heaters for every room.
However, if you want to only heat few rooms, or a small area where you reside most of the time, especially at work places, then probably you should consider using an energy star space heater that consumes less electricity than a central heating system that is operated to heat a small area.
21 – Use Solar Water Heaters
Yes, solar water heaters can work in winter and even on cloudy days and can save you a lot of money on the electric bill by heating the water instead of using electric heaters or boilers.
And the nice thing is that they can be used to heat water for domestic usage, and for heating by connecting the solar thermal panels with the same system that contains the boiler, and it can save you up to 50%-80% of the water heating bill.
22 – Solar Lights for Outdoors & LED Lights Indoors
Because night is longer during winter, you need to use electricity for lighting more than what you do during summer.
And this applies to both, indoor lighting and external lighting.
In order to save money, consider using LED lamps that are more efficient and consume around 75% less electricity than incandescent lamps, and last up to 25 times longer.
And for areas like corridors, you can use LED strips instead of installing many LED lamps.
And when it comes to lighting outdoors, you can use solar lights that come with a battery that can be charged during the day and used to light up LED lights during the night, where the batteries’ capacity range from 6-12 hours depending on the model and manufacturer.
23 – Turn off Unused Devices
Keeping a water heater or a central heating system on for long hours when no one is home can cost you a lot of money, and turning them off during such times can decrease your electric bill in winter.
And the same goes for other appliances like a computer, lighting, and more.
If there’s an area where you or others keep for getting the lights on, especially corridors, or kitchens and bathrooms at work places and public places, then maybe consider using a heat sensor that would detect if there’s someone in that area or not, and it would automatically switch on and off the lights.
24 – Cold Water for Washing
And this apply for laundry, and for dish washing.
Washing with hot water doesn’t necessarily mean that you get a better result.
Actually, some fabrics might shrink or fade in color when washed in hot water.
Also, some fabrics might wrinkle because of hot water more than cold water, which costs more for ironing them.
Therefore, washing clothes with cold water saves electricity not only by eliminating the need to heat up water, but also, by requiring less ironing.
The same goes for the dishwasher as you can wash effectively with water at 65–71 °C (149–160 °F). You don’t need the water boiling in order to wash dishes and cutlery with it.
25 – Avoid Peak Hours
Some utility companies charge consumers based on a multi-tier or block tariff structure.
This means that they might charge a certain price per kWh consumed during the day hours, and a different (usually higher) price per kWh consumed during the night hours.
Or sometimes, they have a specific block of time (2-3 hours) where they charge a higher fee per kWh consumed.
Check out your electricity bill, or call the company to ask for these hours if they charge based on this structure, and try to shift as much of your electricity consumption to the hours when you get charged based on the lower fee such as doing the laundry, washing, ironing, …etc.
You can also check the meter if it records to different readings as explained in our electricity meter reading guide.
26 – Keep Garage Door Closed
If you have a garage, then like an insulated basement or attic, it can cause you lose heat and therefore, spend more money on heating the house.
Consider keeping the garage door closed all the time in order not to mix the air inside the garage with the cold air from outside.
27 – Do Things in Bulk (Ironing, Laundry, Dish Washing)
It takes a certain amount of energy to startup certain appliances such as the iron, or to run a certain machine like the dishwasher and the washing machine.
And regardless if you were to use these appliances to do a full load, half load, or even less, you will still consume this amount of energy.
That’s why you should try to adapt the habit of doing things in bulk instead of doing small loads and operating these appliances more frequently.
28 – Avoid Heat Drying Dishes
Heat drying dishes also consumes electricity, and you can save money if you leave them to dry naturally since you won’t need to use them immediately after washing them.
This can save money on electricity at apartments and homes in particular, different from coffee houses for example.
29 – Dry Cloths Naturally
Warm drying mode in washing machines uses electricity to heat air and push it towards laundry in order to dry it, and this consumes electricity.
Try using drying racks to hang the laundry instead and save money.
30 – Install Solar Panels
Now that you have tried all the previous tips in order to keep your electric bill as low as possible during winter, why not take things to the next level and start producing electricity?
Electric solar panels can generate electricity even during cloudy days as long as there’s some light.
And don’t worry about the cold weather as electric solar panels (PV panels) generate electricity from light and not from heat.
Actually, the cold weather is optimal for electric solar panels as it helps in increasing their productivity.
But first of all, try to reduce your electricity consumption during winter with the previous tips, and then you might hire a contractor to install a solar panel system that is enough generate electricity for what you need to consume after doing the savings.
The nice thing is that even if you consume electricity at night, you can still benefit from the solar panel system by generating electricity during the day and giving it to the utility company, and at night, you withdraw what you need from the utility lines and the smart meter will read both ways and calculate the difference in order to only charge you for the additional amount you consumed.
This might be different from one utility company to another. You can hire a consultant who would give you an estimate quotation for the solar panel system that you need and how much you can save with solar energy panels.
Recommended for US Homeowners:
Conclusion – Can Your Really Save Electricity During Winter?
Sure! Most of the electricity consumption during winter goes on the heating and lighting due to the cold weather and longer nights, which is one of the reasons your electric bill increases significantly all of a sudden.
and you can reduce your electric bill in winter and fall in apartments, homes, and even work places by reducing these two loads in particular, and other loads in general.
If you have any question about anything mentioned here, or if you have more tips that you think are worth adding to this list, then please, tell me in the comments’ section below and I will be happy to reply to you asap 🙂
Are You a US Homeowner?
You might be eligible for installing a complete solar panel system for your house without a down payment, save on electric bill (or even eliminate it), increase the value of your house, and maybe get an extra $1,000 rebate!
SunPower is a leading solar energy company, and they can advise you on your eligibility.
Enter your zip code, and finish the 1-minute survey, and SunPower’s professional team will contact you shortly!