5 tips to cope with higher energy bills this winter

by ETF Base on October 30, 2011

The following was a guest post highlighting energy tips for the winter:

Every year the cost of heating your home increases. Finding the cheapest gas and electricity is essential. The bills get higher and the winters seem colder. The slow economy does not help the situation and neither does the rising cost of oil. There is little you can do in a matter of weeks – before the cold weather arrives – about gas and oil prices, nor can you suddenly decide in a matter of days to stop using those fossil fuels to heat your home. What you can do is find the best way to cope with your energy bills this winter and follow the tips below.

1. Lower water heater temperatures to 120-125 degrees. Reducing hot water heating costs can save you as much as $10-$15 per month on your electric or gas bill depending on your type of service. Water for dishwashers in most cases has a range of temperatures required to be effective. Check your dishwasher’s requirements before lowering your maximum water temperature below 130 degrees.

2. Seal off fireplaces when not in use during the summer months and install fireplace inserts during the winter months. If you can’t install an insert, most definitely seal your fireplace to reduce heat loss through the flue. As much as 10% of a home’s heating energy can be lost through an open flue. Simply closing the flue without any other actions to the fireplace can save as much as 5% on your overall heating bill.

3. Skip movies and dining out. Reducing your family’s entertainment budget by changing a few habits can save over $100 per month. The cost for movies and moderate dinner for a family of four can range from $80 to well over $100 per outing. Movie tickets average $9.00 per person with a total of $36. Snacks and drinks at the movies comes to $25. Dinner is $12.00 per person totaling $48. An evening out with dinner and a movie is as much as $109. Eating the meal at home, going to a matinee and forgoing the in-theater snacks will result in a saving of over $80.

4. Reduce driving by joining a car pool. Car-pooling can save as much as $100 per month in gasoline costs for an average commuter. If you drive a vehicle that has an MPG of 20 and you commute 10 miles per day for a five day work week, you are driving 100 miles per week. With current gas prices on the rise and fluctuating regularly, that 100 miles can cost you big. Assume $3.50 per gallon for gas. By car-pooling you can save $8.75 per week at 50% contribution for gas consumption. Over the course of a year, savings can exceed $450.  And of course, there’s always the car insurance comparison task which can be completed easily online, just click here.

5. Shop for sale items. Beyond coupon clipping and bargain shopping for clothing and school supplies, shop big on food sale items. Invest a small amount of money in a used freezer unit. Freezers provide added space for storage of sale food items that take up space in your refrigerator’s freezer section. Buying larger quantities helps you save on gas too, reducing trips to the grocery store and potential impulse buying.

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