For a large portion of the country, winter weather is already here. And that means higher energy bills.
For a small business, those higher energy bills can take up valuable resources that could otherwise be used for growing your business. But there are some things you can do to relieve some of that financial burden. Learn how to lower your electric bill with these 25 tips.
How to Lower Your Electric Bill This Winter
Lock Outside Windows
Windows can be a huge source of escaping heat in your home or office. If they’re left open even a crack, then you’re paying to heat air that’s just escaping outside. So before it gets too cold, make sure all of your outdoor windows are shut tightly and locked.
Seal Air Leaks
You might also want to examine the area around your windows and any other openings to the outdoors. If there are any cracks or openings that let air escape. You can get sealer or weatherstripping to close up those leaks.
Insulate Walls and Ceilings
The walls and ceilings of your home or office should also be sufficiently insulated to keep all that warm air inside. So check to make sure there’s sufficient insulation material and replace it if necessary.
Clean Furnaces and Heaters
At the beginning of winter, it can be a good idea to check on your furnace and any other heating units you might use in your office to make sure they’re clean and don’t require any tune-ups.
Change Filters Regularly
Throughout the year, you’ll also want to make sure to replace your furnace filters so air can travel through it efficiently.
Make Sure Doors Close Properly
Doors to the outside can also lead to lots of warm air escaping. So make sure each door shuts tightly and doesn’t leave any open areas to the outside. If it does, you might need some sealer or an adjustment to your door frame.
Switch to Efficient Light Bulbs
When it comes to lighting your office, not all bulbs are created equal. Choose energy efficient lighting options to keep your space illuminated.
Get a Smart Thermostat
There are also plenty of new options when it comes to thermostats. Though it would be an investment up front, you can purchase a smart thermostat that learns your heating preferences and only uses as much power as absolutely necessary. This can lower your energy costs in the long run.
Keep Blinds Open During the Day
During the winter, you can use the sun to your advantage to help heat your office space. Keep shades or blinds open when the sun is shining in so you can get that extra heat without any additional cost.
Shut Them When the Sun Goes Down
However, when the sun starts to go down at the end of the day, make sure to close those shades or blinds to trap the warm air inside.
Turn Down the Thermostat at Night
When you leave the office at night, you can also save a bit of money by turning the thermostat down a few degrees. You don’t need it quite as warm when no one is there working anyway.
Use Area Rugs
If you have wood floor or tile in your office, the floor can get really cold in the winter. But you can use area rugs to insulate the floor and keep your team feeling warmer.
Keep Vents Clear
And if the vents that are supposed to deliver warm air to different parts of your office are covered up by furniture or obstructed in any way, they might not be able to work very efficiently. So make sure you move any items out of the way.
Use Ceiling Fans Effectively
Ceiling fans can be great for keeping you cool in the summer. But many also have a feature that let you put the fan in reverse, which pushes warmer air down and can help you stay warm in the winter.
While you don’t want your office to be a frozen tundra, it also probably isn’t practical to expect it to feel like a tropical paradis either. So through the winter, bundle up with sweaters or other warm items so that the slightly cooler air doesn’t have as much of an impact.
Get a Humidifier
A humidifier can help keep that dry winter air a bit more bearable. And it can also make it feel a bit warmer than it really is.
Use LED Holiday Lights
If you plan on decorating your office with lights for the holidays, make sure you get some LED lights that use much less energy than traditional bulbs.
Buy a Portable Heater
It wouldn’t be efficient to heat a whole office with portable heaters. But if you have one space you want to be a bit warmer, you can invest in a portable heater and then keep the thermostat set a few degrees cooler.
Shut Vents in Unused Rooms
If you have spaces in your office that aren’t used often, don’t pay to heat them. For example, if you have a conference room that you only use on occasion, shut the vents and the door so you can save money in that area. Just remember to re-open them before you actually go to use that room.
Install Storm Windows
Even if the windows in your office are properly locked and sealed, they might not be that effective at keeping warm air inside. If you don’t already have storm windows, it might be an investment that’s worth looking into.
Cover Windows with Plastic Film
If that’s not a viable option, you can also consider covering your windows with plastic film in the winter as a way of further sealing off any potential air leaks.
Use Energy Star Appliances
Your office refrigerator and other appliances can also take up a lot of energy. So make sure you have energy efficient models that use as little as possible.
Unplug Devices When Not in Use
All those electronics you use in your office take up a lot of energy. And if you keep them plugged in even when they’re not in use, you’re just wasting money. So unplug things like laptop and smartphone chargers and small kitchen appliances whenever you’re not actually using them.
Consider Motion Sensors
Of course, you and your team members should turn off lights whenever you leave a room. But if you have some forgetful people on your staff, it might not always happen. In that case, motion sensors that turn your lights off when they sense no movement could help you reduce energy costs.
Get an Energy Audit
If you’ve done a lot of the things above and still notice high energy bills, you might want to sign up for an energy audit through the Department of Energy or a local service provider. They can tell you any areas in your home or office where you can make improvements.