Unless you live in Southern California or Southern Florida, your outside temps are likely somewhere in the range between uncomfortably cool and OMG WHY IS IT SOOOOO FREEZING??? The highs today in Chattanooga are in the low 30s, and while they didn’t stick, I did see some snow flurries outside my window this morning.
I really shouldn’t be seeing snowflakes where I live for at least another month. If we get snow at all, we get it between late December and early February. So yeah…global weirding, indeed!
The past few nights at home I have woken up in the middle of the night because I was so cold, and had to crank up the heat a bit. I know what this means…I’m cranking up my electric bill, too! Most of America is having to do the same thing, and right at the same time that we are making lots of holiday gift purchases and/or getting ready for big travel expenses. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most expensive time of the year. Having electric bills that will soar before winter is even officially here is not a good thing for my family’s budget, and probably not for yours, either. So let’s talk about some ways to help curb the expenses!
1. Stop Heating Every Space in your Home
If you have a large house and don’t really and truly need to use every single room (for example, perhaps you have two living rooms, or perhaps you have a bathroom pretty much only used by guests, or even a guest bedroom). If you don’t NEED to be in a room, consider shutting the door to that room as much as possible. And if it’s a room that you really don’t need to be in except for special circumstances (guest room), then shut the vent in that room, too, to redirect the warm air elsewhere.
My family lives in a small house, but I am still putting this idea to work by making sure our closet doors are shut and by shutting the doors to my girls’ rooms, the bathrooms and to the downstairs guest room/office.
2. Give Yourself Permission to Get Toasty…In Just One Spot
Even though I have a home office, it is downstairs. The bottom floor of my home is much colder than the top floor, simply because heat rises. So I’m camped out in my bedroom, which is small, with the door shut and the space heater on. Since this is a post about saving energy, you may be surprised to hear me mention space heaters, which aren’t exactly known to be energy stars. If you are trying to heat your whole house with space heaters, you are going to rack up one heck of a bill. But if you can choose a small room and use a space heater to make it feel nice and toasty, then you’ll be fine. The trick is to choose a space where members of your family are willing to hang out for most of their awake time. If you have two floors, like me, choose an upstairs room if at all possible. When my girls come home from school today, I’ll move downstairs and set up the heater in our living room because my oldest is having a play date. Otherwise, I’d have the girls pick one of their rooms (which are both upstairs) as the afternoon hang out spot.
My bedroom right now is 71 degrees. The rest of my house is limping along at about 63 degrees. Aside from when I have to make quick trips to the bathroom and the kitchen, though, I’m quite comfy!
3. The Slow Cooker is Your Friend
I totally get the temptation to use your oven for breakfast, lunch and dinner right now. But I want to suggest that you cook with your slow cooker as much as possible during this freezing weather, and for two key reasons. First, the slow cooker uses MUCH less energy than the oven. I know it feels SO nice to open up that oven door, but when it comes to actually heating your house, it is a horribly inefficient method, and it will only send you a few blissful degrees of warmth for a handful of minutes. The second reason you should reach for the slow cooker is that, unless the kitchen happens to be the room you’ve decided to hang out in and warm up, then you need to spend as little time as possible in there. Slow cooker meals tend to come together really fast because you typically just dump some ingredients in the pot and plug it in! If you have to spend 30 minutes preparing a meal before you put it in the oven, you are NOT going to be happy if it is really cold in the kitchen, and you will cave and crank up the heat. Or at least I would. So I’m trying to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible during this freeze. I have potatoes going in my slow cooker right now for a baked potato bar tonight.
4. Try Some New Ideas
This year I purchased LED outdoor lights for the holidays because I want to be festive, but I also want to save money! This is a new idea for my family, but there are dozens more great ideas, ranging from no cost, to low cost, to investment solutions (including great rebate options!) on the PG&E website. You may think you’ve already done all you can to try to save some kilowatts, but take a peek around and see what great ideas are just waiting to be discovered!
PG&E is currently hosting the #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest, going on now through November 23rd. Every day this week a $100 Home Depot gift card will be given away. Wouldn’t you like to be one of those winners? It’s easy to enter, so don’t delay! You could get some really awesome energy-saving stuff with $100!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.