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.
Advancements are growing in technological fields, and home automation is becoming a more commonly found source to help reduce waste throughout the home. There are multiple different gadgets to choose from, including options to help with:
Smart sprinkler systems can offer the most efficient watering schedule for your property while at the same time reducing waste; it will typically occur with an outdated sprinkler system. They also have sensors that will let you know if there is an ongoing drip to help reduce your water bill.
Automation controls for lighting is an excellent energy saver because it allows for a timer to be in place. This keeps the lights from being on all night or all day and has motion sensor options. These choices will react to motion inside of the room, which can save money and energy.
Energy management options include smart power strips and gadgets that can power off appliances and lights, ultimately reducing costs and energy use.
Adjust the Water Heater Temperature
Conventional water heaters use a lot of energy, and if you have it set at a higher temperature, this is another great option to consider. It can be helpful to look at the manual to locate any energy-efficient dials, and if you don't have one with those choices, you might consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model.
Switch to LED Lighting
LED light bulbs are the market's most energy-efficient option if you aren't already using them. Compared to traditional options, the LED will use around 80% less energy than incandescent. They also have a longer lifespan or are a safer choice because they don't heat up as a by-product and are more eco-friendly due to their longevity and efficiency. LEDs can also cost around 1/6 of what a conventional bulb does, and over their lifetime, they pay for themselves.
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? If you become aware of any of the below issues, contact an electrician for a comprehensive electrical inspection.
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
A professional electrician 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!