November is here and Jack Frost seems to be visiting for the holidays! Here in Northern California, we may not be experiencing the Polar Vortex like some of the other states, but even we have been having some cold and rainy weather this week.
When the weather gets low, our energy usage can become high. With the extra need to warm our homes and kids and family members spending more times indoors this can add up fast. At these times it’s important to save on energy costs wherever possible. By taking a few simple steps to lower your usage you can save money and time while keeping your home comfortable and putting less strain on the environment and natural resources.
Here are a few no cost, low cost and home investment ways to do this, this winter:
• Add a blanket– add an extra blanket to everyone’s bed! It is winter, after-all, and wrapping up in a warm blanket is just so cozy and warm.
• Open the curtains– Even if it’s cold outside, you can enjoy some warmth from the sun by opening up your blinds and curtains when the sun is out. Let the sun filter in through the windows to warm your room and brighten your day. However, as soon as the sun starts to set, close all of your blinds and curtains to provide an extra barrier between you and the cold, nighttime weather.
• Programable Thermostats- If you don’t have a programmable thermostat yet, get one! You can schedule it to run at certain times of the day, so that you only heat your home when you need it. You can also program it to shut off at a certain temperature so that you are never heating your house above what is comfortable to you. It is well worth the investment, as you will most likely see savings on your electric bill immediately.
• Small Space Heater- Another small purchase that you can make to lower your heating cost is to buy a space heater. This is perfect for people who will be staying in a small room in the home, and want to heat just that space. My dad, for example, works mainly from his home office and is the only person in the house during the day. Last year, he purchased a small space heater just for that room, and it has made a world of difference! His office is always nice and warm without paying to heat the entire house.
• Attic Insulation: Last year my husband and I purchased our first home, and soon found out that there was absolutely no insulation in the attic. Last winter the entire house was always drafty and expensive to heat. To remedy the problem, last spring we decided to do some DIY work and insulate the house. It was a bit of a project, and cost around $500, however it has made an incredible difference. We no longer notice a constant draft of cold air entering the house, and are noticing how much lower our PG&E bill compared to the same month last year. An affordable way to do this is to use acrylic sheets which are great all year round no matter the environment.
• Dual Paned Windows-Our next big home investment that we are starting to save for is Dual Paned Windows. Right now, we have single Paned windows on the front of the house and Dual Paned windows along the back of house. Just walking by the windows on the different sides of the house, let’s you know that the dual Paned windows are making a big difference. Along the front of the house you can feel cold air coming in from the edges of the windows, which I don’t feel at all from the dual Paned windows. I think getting the windows done is going to be a fairly significant cost, but worth it, long term.
For more information and tips on how to lower your energy costs this winter, visit the PG&E website today. They have everyday savings tips, a list of rebate programs and a money saving tool to help you with your next energy saving DIY project. Going on now through November 23, PG&E is also hosting their #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest. Check out their Instagram page to participate in the contest for a chance to win one of seven $100 Home Depot gift cards, to help you with your own home energy saving DIY project!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.