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How to cut down electric bills and heat costs this winter

by | Jan 21, 2021

The cold fall and winter months call for layering your favorite sweaters and sitting in front of a fireplace. Naturally, these colder months require us to spend more time indoors, and we depend heavily on our heating systems to keep us cozy throughout the season. Keeping a home or apartment warm can add up, however. Perhaps you’re a first-time homeowner learning the ins and outs of your home, including the drafty areas and how to work that new thermostat. Perhaps you’re living in an older apartment and need tips to help keep an entire space warm when your radiators aren’t doing the job. Let’s explore some useful tips on how to cut down electric bills and how to save on heating bills for the season.

Quick money-saving tips

If you’re a homeowner, one of the easiest places to start chiseling down the cost of heating, is to start with an energy audit to find out where you can save on costs. These home energy assessments will determine how much energy you use at home, where it’s being lost, and offers solutions to help you become more energy efficient. Of course, if you live in an apartment unit that you don’t own and have central heat, this tip may not apply. Homeowners and apartment dwellers can both consider the following:

Windows and doors

Seal your windows and doors: put your hand over your windows and feel for cool air seeping through the cracks. If you are feeling a breeze, first consider locking every window in your home for the winter, as that tends to provide a tighter close and allow less air to come through the cracks. If that’s not enough, find a clear plastic sheet or tape a sturdy plastic film to the inside of the window frames.

Use a similar method with doors. Place you hand near any open spaces or cracks and feel for a draft. If you notice one, consider weather strips for any draft leaks.

Open the curtains: take advantage of the south-facing windows in your home. These windows tend to let in the most sunlight and can naturally heat your area.

Using a smart home thermostat can help you save on heating bills

Heating systems

Thermostat control: if you use a thermostat to control heat, make sure it’s in the right location for correct temperature readings. A thermostat that gets direct sunlight can skew the temperature reading in your home. Read manufacturer recommendations for placement, ideally away from doorways, windows, drafts, etc. In addition, make sure you understand how to use a programmable thermostat (and if you don’t have one, we recommend you invest in one!)

  • Learn how to save on your heating bill during the winter by programming your thermostat to adjust home temperatures based on your schedule. Sleeping under the blankets means you likely don’t need to keep your thermostat as high. Some folks also enjoy the house to be colder at night. Consider programming your thermostat such that it lowers the temperature 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Doing so can save you as much as 10% on heating and cooling for the year.
  • Smart thermostats already have built-in capabilities that can help you save on your heating bill. Some have an eco-setting that turns on when you’re away from home, and these thermostats collect information on your usage behaviors and adjust temperatures accordingly over time. These capabilities can help make a difference on long-term savings.

Miscellaneous tips

Water heater adjustment: homeowners can turn down their water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the usual 140 to save money on heat. The factory setting is usually way too hot, and if you have little ones at home, this could prevent accidents as well. You may see about 6 to 10 percent savings in your bill.

Switch your fans: believe it or not, ceiling fans have a winter switch! Reversing the ceiling fan allows heat that has risen to circulate throughout the area more efficiently.

Zoned heating: if you’re able to use an electric heater, consider using it during times you’ll be at home for a prolonged period and spending the majority of your time in one particular place. While you shouldn’t do this too often, it may help you normalize the temperature in a cold home, especially if you don’t want to turn up the thermostat.


The fall and winter months can accrue lots of extra costs, especially with the holiday season. There are, however, plenty of ways to save money with the proper adjustments. We hope these tips on how to cut down electric bills and heat costs this season help you stay warm and cozy without breaking the bank. For more topics such as these, and other tech happenings, be sure to check out other posts on the Discover blog from CenturyLink.

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