10 Ways to Slash Winter Utility Bills

By Barbara Pronin

Cold weather is great for winter sports, but on the home front it brings higher utility bills as we try to stay snug and warm. Apart from making best use of the fireplace, it’s a natural and necessary expense. But there are steps we can take to save on gas and electricity even in the coldest days of winter.

Small steps can add up to worthwhile savings, according to consumer consultants at Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), who offer 10 tips for lowering utility bills:

  • Laundry – Washing your clothes at a lower temperature than usual saves energy and money.
  • Lights off – Train yourself (and the kids) to switch off the lights whenever you leave a room.
  • Light bulbs – Changing regular light bulbs for energy saving models can save up to 75 percent of electricity usage for each bulb.
  • Reducing drafts – Check for drafts around windows and doors. Filling them in won’t cost much but will help save big on utility bills.
  • Refrigerator – Every time you open the door, you make the fridge work harder. Be more efficient about how often you open it and how long you keep it open. Also, if you have hot food leftovers, cool them before refrigerating.
  • Cooking – Cooking larger portions and freezing leftovers for future use will reduce your total cooking time.
  • Tea time – When you put the kettle on, boil only as much water as you will need for a one-time use.
  • Showers – Showering for just a few minutes less will save a lot of energy – especially if the whole family does it.
  • Air filters- Make sure they fit properly and that you clean or replace them regularly.
  • Shut the door – Don’t heat the rooms you don’t use. Keep their doors closed and turn off the heating vents.