LUBBOCK, Texas — As homeowners and renters crank up their thermostats and heaters to stay warm in freezing temperatures, electric bills spike.
Statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that 14% of electricity consumption in a home comes from heating.
Thermostats and Fireplaces
Before turning the heat up, consider bundling up, Xcel says.
According to the energy company, you can also save 1% of your total heating bill for every degree you set back your thermostat. Xcel recommends buying programmable or smart thermostats, that can help save money by adjusting the temperature when you’re away.
Those with a fireplace can also take small measures to keep the heat in.
Fireplace owners should turn down their thermostat when using the fireplace to keep it from drawing heat out of the room. Additionally, the flue damper should be tightly closed when the fireplace is not in use.
According to Xcel, maintenance is key to improving heat distribution within a home.
Xcel advises homeowners to maintain their heating systems by replacing or cleaning the furnace filter every three months or when it appears dirty. Additionally, they recommend performing routine maintenance tasks such as vacuuming vent covers, addressing accumulated layers of paint, dusting radiator fins, scheduling an annual efficiency check-up and bleeding radiators annually for both furnaces and boilers.
The energy company even offers tips to heat small areas effectively and safely.
To conserve energy, close vents in unused rooms and adjust the temperature in different areas if your home is zoned. When using space heaters, direct the heat towards individuals rather than empty spaces and ensure flammable materials are kept at a safe distance.
More tips and tricks from Xcel
- Keep interior doors open to help air circulate and maintain constant heat levels.
- Use insulating window treatments to slow down heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer
- Invest in high-quality insulation in the cavities of your home to help keep cool or warm air inside
- Get a home x-ray
In its ‘Ten Simple Tips for Saving Money and Energy in Homes,’ SPEC echoed similar advice as Xcel. However, the SPEC did add to set HVAC fans to auto, so they only run when they need to.
By using these tips and tricks in your home, you not only lower your electric bill, SPEC says, but you also eliminate energy waste.