When you live in the Twin Cities, wintertime energy bills can be tough on your wallet. Luckily, there are ways to boost your household energy efficiency so you can keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.
Here are three easy-to-implement, efficiency-boosting tips that can help you save on your electrical bills throughout winter and beyond.
Use Space Heaters
Although they can present an electrical hazard if you’re not careful, space heaters offer an excellent way to keep your home warm without breaking the bank. You will, of course, need to turn your primary thermostat down to achieve the energy savings you’re looking for. A decrease of about five degrees Fahrenheit should be adequate to offset the cost of the space heaters’ electricity usage.
To minimize the inherent safety risks associated with using space heaters indoors, be sure to:
● Avoid placing space heaters near upholstered objects.
● Leave a three-foot radius of open space around the heater.
● Only place heaters on the floor.
● Keep heaters away from all water sources.
● Never leave a running space heater unattended.
Keep in mind, too, that space heaters tend to work best in walled-in rooms rather than open spaces. If you’re going to use them, place your space heaters in areas where people tend to gather (like the living room), but if your house has a really open floor plan, try to confine the heaters to the smaller rooms.
It’s also a good idea to plug space heaters into electrical outlets that have an added layer of protection against current overloads and electrical shock. These types of outlets are known as GFCI and AFCI receptacles. If you don’t currently have them in your home, seriously consider having an electrician perform outlet replacements, so you have the right safety outlets in the appropriate locations.
Keep in mind the National Electric Code now mandates that these outlets be installed in all new homes because they play an integral role in keeping electrical systems functioning safely.
Update Old Wiring in Your House
Is your home several decades old? If so, when was the last time you had your electrical system serviced? If it’s been many years (or if you’ve never had electrical work performed), there’s a good chance you have old wiring or an old electrical panel in your house. If these system components are seriously outdated, both must be updated to maximize your household energy efficiency.
How can you tell if your home’s electrical work might be outdated? Keep an eye out for the following red flags:
● Buzzing, humming, or crackling sounds that appear to come from within your walls.
● Circuit breakers that trip frequently
● Lights that flicker or dim themselves frequently
● Outlets that are warm to the touch, discolored, or loose
● Lack of GFCI and AFCI outlets
If you become aware of any of the above issues, contact an electrician for a comprehensive electrical inspection. A pro can advise you on the updates your electrical system requires and perform the appropriate repairs and upgrades to ensure your wiring functions more efficiently.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Everyone knows turning down the heat will cut down wintertime energy expenses. Unfortunately, actually remembering to turn down the heat at certain times throughout the day is easier said than done. That’s where a smart thermostat can be remarkably useful.
Some smart thermostats require a C-wire for installation while others do not. If you choose a device that needs a C-wire and you own an older home, you’ll likely need to have an electrician install that wire first since your home probably doesn’t have one.
Need an Electrician in Minneapolis or St. Paul?
Want to maximize your household energy efficiency this winter? Let our team at Harrison Electric help you get the job done! We specialize in electrical repairs, full-service electrical upgrades, new installations, and much more and have proudly served the Twin Cities metro for more than 30 years. To learn more or get started, give us a call today at 763-544-3300 or request a quote online, and we’ll get in touch!