How can you lower your electric bill in winter in an apartment?
This is a common question that millions ask at the beginning of the winter season every year, and it is good to know the answer so that you save money that you could be better spent somewhere else.
I’m an electrical engineer with more than a decade of experience, and I wrote this list of 11 free, or low cost ways to reduce the electric bill in your apartment in winter in order to help you pay less to the utility company, and more to yourself.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
11 Ways to Lower Electric Bill in Winter in Apartment
Watch Out for Peak Tariff Hours
Some utility companies charge a higher rate per kWh consumed during certain hours of the day, aka peak demand hours, and then they charge the normal rate during the other hours.
These hours differ from one company to another, and sometimes they differ from one season to another.
Also, they might be different depending on the day of the week.
For example, ConEdison charges 1.68 cents/kWh during off-peak hours, and for the peak hours, the charge 8.82 cents/kWh during eight months of the year (October-May), and 23.84 cents/kWh during the other four months (June-September).
And the peak hours are from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Some other companies might charge different rates and might have different peak hours, like from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and might consider the weekend hours all to be off-peak hours.
And some companies charge the same rate for all hours regardless of the time of the day or the season.
And knowing what time you get charged for the peak-hour tariff (aka Time-of-Use) can help you lower the electric bill in your apartment in winter.
You can find this information on your electric bill, on the utility company’s website, or you can call them to find out.
By knowing these hours when your apartment get charged a higher price for electricity during winter, you can now shift the usage of electricity for certain activities such as: washing clothes and dishes, ironing, heating water with an electric heater, …etc., into the off-peak hours in order to reduce your electric bill.
Keep Doors Closed
Heating is one of the biggest consumers of energy for apartments in winter, and it is one of the main reasons why electric bill gets so high in winter.
And if you were using electricity to heat your home through the AC unit that can work on heating mode, that means that heating will significantly impact the electric bill.
In order to minimize the effect of the heating on your winter electric bill in your apartment, try to keep the doors between different rooms closed in order to maintain the heat in the rooms where you have the heating on for as long as possible, and thus, reduce the usage of the heating unit and lower the electric bill.
This applies even if you use a different kind of heating system such as using an oil space heater for example, or any other unit that works on electricity.
If there’s a door that you, or others, keep forgetting to close, you can use an auto-door closer in order to make it close the door automatically everytime someone opens it.
Timer & Zones for Heating, or Use Small Space Heaters
If the heating system in your apartment is distributing the heat into different rooms or zones through a ducting system, then you should be able to control which zones get the hot air and which ones go off.
You could save on electric bill during winter in your apartment if you turn on only the zones or rooms that you intend to use, instead of heating the whole apartment.
Also, you could use timers or programmable thermostats that would turn on/off the heating system based on certain hours that you need the apartment to be warm.
Also, you could use a small space heater if you were alone in a big room and you don’t want to heat the air and consume a lot of electricity with the air conditioner.
Infrared space heaters are highly efficient and can help lower your winter apartment electric bill when used right.
Lower Thermostat Setting & Dress Up
Each degree you set the thermostat higher during winter can significantly increase your electric bill.
However, it does not make much of a different in comfort if you raise the room temperature for few degrees.
Therefore, try to keep the thermostat setting in your apartment as low and comfortable as possible in order to lower your electric bill during winter.
And try to wear something warm instead of a tank top or a t-shirt.
Completely Seal Unused Rooms
Unused rooms can work as an electricity vampire in apartments during winter because they can cause the heat to dissipate to the outside, and thus, require the heating system to work longer on a full load basis.
Keep the unused rooms sealed as much as possible by keeping their windows and the shutters closed, and keep their doors closed and even close the opening under their doors through a door sweep or through a piece of cloths in order to prevent the cold air from creeping into the heated space.
Close Shutters When Not Benefiting from Sunlight
For the windows in the rooms that you use in your apartment, including the ones in the kitchen, if you are not using these windows to get natural light, then you better close the shutters in order to add a layer of insulation and keep the heat inside.
This is especially during the evening and the night hours when you would use electrical lighting anyway, and there’s no point of keeping the shutters up.
Check & Fix Broken Sealing for Windows
A small opening in the frame of the window can significantly lower the temperature inside your apartment and cause a continuous heat loss, and thus, use more electricity to keep the apartment warm.
Check out the sealing around all the windows and fix any point where you sense cold air getting inside.
Maintain AC if Used for Heating
The AC unit will consume more electric energy if it is not maintained on regular basis.
Dusty filters and air vents, dirty coils, ducts with cracks, and missing insulation on the gas pipes can all lead your AC unit to consuming more electricity in order to give the required temperature that you could get with a well-maintained system.
Do regular maintenance and change the filters every 3-6 months based on the manufacturer recommendation and the pollution in your area.
Use a Timer for Electric Water Heater, or Go Tankless
Many apartments use an electric water heater, and that leads into a high electric bill during winter.
Leaving the water heater on all the time wastes energy.
That’s why it is better to turn on the water heater only when you need to use the hot water, and to do so, you can either use a normal on/off switch that you use to regulate the operation of the water heater, or you can install a water heater time as timers for electric water heaters save money on electric bill.
Also, tankless water heaters save money compared to normal electric water heaters with tanks, so, you could consider installing one of these in case that you own the apartment you live in.
Another point to remember is that to fix any leakage in the hot water system as the leakage will cause the water heater to work longer and increase your electric bill.
Something to be conscious of is the time you turn the water heater on, and try to avoid the peak hours as much as possible, which is why it becomes very useful to use a water heater timer or to regulate the operation of the water heater by yourself through the on/off switch, and heat the water during the hour just before the start of the peak tariff hours.
Turn Off Lights When You Don’t Need Them
Because the day is shorter during winter, we need to use more the artificial lighting inside apartments for longer hours, which means more electricity is consumed.
Always turn off the lights when you don’t need them, because leaving the lights on wastes electricity.
Try to only use lights in the rooms where you need to be and when you actually need the lights to be in order to do something, and not because you are in the living room watching the TV.
Also, consider replacing the normal incandescent lamps or halogen lamps with LED units as LED bulbs save energy and help lower your apartment’s electric bill in winter.
Do Full Loads
Operating the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the iron more frequently on small loads waste energy and increases your apartment’s electric bill during winter and summer.
Try to only use the washing machine and the dishwasher on full loads, and try to accumulate the clothes that need ironing and do them all in one batch.
Also, consider using natural drying for clothes and dishes as forced drying consumes electricity that is better saved.
And remember to watch out for peak-tariff hours in order to use the best time to do laundry to save energy and money, do ironing, and to wash dishes at the lowest rates.
There you go!
I gave you eleven ways to lower the electric bill in apartments in winter, and most of these methods don’t actually require you to pay money in order to buy a device, or they cost a small investment that pays itself back in short time and helps you reduce the winter electric bill in your apartment.
If you still have any question, or if you need help with anything mentioned here, please, ask me in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂
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