Welcome to Energy in Your Twenties! This series will help college students, recent college grads, and young professionals prepare for their first experiences with an electricity bill. Whether it’s figuring out how to choose an electricity provider, how to curb your roommate’s excessive electricity use, or how to make homemade dishes without cranking up your energy usage, this series will tackle the questions and obstacles people face during the first couple of years of paying their own electricity bill.
Winter in Texas can often be confusing, unexpected, and a bit of a financial strain if you aren’t properly prepared for it. And as most parts of Texas only really get about 10 days of winter out of the whole year, it can sometimes seem silly or pointless to prepare for two days of cold weather, only to be greeted by 80° weather the next day.
But trust us: if you aren’t even slightly prepared for weather below 60°F, you could face a hefty electricity bill during the colder months of the year.
If this is your first winter paying for your electricity, you may think your bill will not be as high as it is during the summer – after all, you won’t need to turn on the AC anymore! And while that is a possibility, many first-time electricity customers don’t realize that turning on your heater can rack up as large an electricity bill as your AC can.
So if you need help controlling your electricity usage during the winter, here are six easy and budget-friendly tips you can incorporate to keep you and your apartment warm.
1) Check Your Curtains
While we know it’s hard to see curtains as a necessity when living in your first apartment, these handy pieces of fabric do more than just block out the sun when you want to sleep in till noon on the weekends. By utilizing your curtains appropriately, you can warm up your apartment without having to turn on your heater!
Simply keep your curtains open during the day to let the sun’s natural warmth in. And make sure to close the curtains once the sun sets to keep the heat from escaping back out.
Tip: Invest in thermal curtains to trap in the heat and keep the cold from seeping out the windows during the cold nights.
2) Use Rugs
Paying extra in rent for those nice hardwood floors? As great as they may look, they may be one of the reasons for a high electricity bill during the winter. Cover your hardwood (or tile) floors with rugs and carpets to keep the heat from escaping through your floorboards – and to keep your bare feet from freezing!.
Tip: Investing in home slippers can also keep you warm during the winter season.
3) Run Those Appliances
In the summer, we advise you to use your appliances such as the oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer at night so they don’t overheat the home and cause you to run the air conditioner a lot. During the colder months, use these during the day to keep your house warmer. If possible, try to do laundry, use the oven, or wash the dishes on exceptionally cold days to keep your heater from over-working.
Tip: When you’re finished cooking, turn your oven off and keep the door open to let the heat warm up your home.
4) Bundle Up
Take out those ugly sweaters your grandparents seem to give you every Christmas. They may be ugly, but they’ll keep you warm, and nobody ever has to see you in them (except for maybe the pizza delivery guy).
Tip: Invest in fuzzy socks, fleece-lined leggings, and/or slipper boots to wear during the colder days.
5) Insulate Your Home
If you live in an older apartment, you’ll have to run your heater for longer to heat it up, which means higher electricity bills. While you can’t exactly insulate a rental, they these two creative ways to keep in the heat:
- Line your windows with bubble wrap; and
- Insulate the gap between the door and the floor with a draft blocker.
6) Make Your Bed
While cotton sheets are meant to keep us cold during the summer, fleece blankets are meant to keep us warm during the winter. Invest in some fleece sheets, a thick comforter, or even an electric blanket to keep warm at night.
Tip: Slip a hot water bottle in bed with you for extra warmth on those chilly nights.
If all else fails, just bundle up in bed with a warm cup of tea and a good book, and you’ll be sure to stay warm and save on your electricity bill!
Check in next month for another Energy in Your Twenties series where we talk about planning an energy-efficient date night for Valentine’s Day!