Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Ways to Cut Expenses - Dial the Thermostat Down (or up)
When I started working on my money saving list, it was still pretty chilly out, and we were still cranking the heat. Now temperatures in our area are the perfect medium where neither heat nor air conditioning is needed. So although this may be a little seasonally late, tuck these tips away for after the summer.
This past December I nearly fell out of my chair when I got our gas bill. It was 10 times what it had been during the summer and was a huge spike even from November. Granted, we'd had a lot of snow and bad weather. Temperatures were mighty cold, but I knew we had to make some changes. We started keeping the daytime temperature one degree cooler than we normally had (68 down to 67). For every 8 hours you do this you can save 1% on your fuel bill.
To take the savings even further, dial the night time temperature down even more. We were keeping the thermostat at 64 at night, but after that horrendously high bill, we started putting it down to 60. I know that sounds really cold, but we have a very well insulated house with new double-paned windows. The upstairs, in particular, is much warmer in the winter and under down blankets was plenty warm for all of us. Lowering your thermostat at night by an additional 5-10 degrees will help you realize a 5-10% savings on your gas bill.
After doing this for a month, our gas bill was about $30 lower (about a 10% savings) during an equivalently cold month January, so I have no doubt that our money savings measures actually worked.
Although I see no virtue in shivering during the winter, making small and appropriately timed thermostat concessions can help ease the financial burden. You probably won't even notice the change, but I guarantee you'll appreciate the results.