Cold winter temperatures are always a challenge. Many people find them uncomfortable and spend months feeling cold. Vehicles may not start, and travel can be perilous. Electricity is the one thing that makes the outside cold bearable. It provides a reliable power source for heat and lights and powers your appliances. Like many people, you probably only think about electricity when there is an outage or when you receive your utility bill. But electricity use requires that you take proper measures to keep your family safe. You can also take steps to lower your monthly bill.
When the temperatures plunge, your primary goal is to stay warm. This focus can lead you to take risks with electricity that can cause a fire. Consider the following safety tips this winter.
Space heaters can be an excellent addition to your home heating plan. They are portable, affordable, and cut your electricity use. Unattended space heaters are a serious hazard. They have been known to overheat, potentially igniting a room. If you place them too close to flammable objects, those items can catch on fire. Every winter, space heaters end up causing fatalities.
To stay safe, turn off your heater whenever you leave the room. Make certain the area around it is clear, and do not sleep with it on.
You should remove most of the electrical cords plugged into an overflowing outlet. You can use a power strip to plug in a few lower-wattage items, but no outlet should have more than one high-wattage appliance plugged in. Your space heater will not work well with your blow dryer. In fact, your heater should never be plugged into a power strip. It needs to be plugged directly into an outlet to prevent the power strip from melting or igniting.
Remember, overloaded outlets could easily short out, particularly in a home with older wiring. Sadly, an outlet short is another potential fire starter.
Keep flammable objects away from all heat sources. Household cleaners should not be kept by your stove. Paint cans and old clothes should be far from your furnace, and blankets do not belong by your space heater.
Minimizing Electricity Use
Americans worry about the cost of electricity all year long, but particularly during the winter months in the colder states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. The average monthly electric bill in the U.S. was $117 per month in 2020. Of course, those bills were often significantly higher in December, January, and February. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to reduce your energy bill this year.
Invest in a programmable thermostat that lowers and raises the heat depending on the time of day and the presence of people. You can set it to keep your home cooler when you and your family are at home or school, and then have it automatically warm things up when you are about to return home. You can also manually accomplish this task, but a programmable thermostat makes it easier to save money.
Ceiling fan use is not just for summer cooling. Simply reverse the motor in your fans to slowly rotate clockwise. Doing so will push the warm air near the ceiling down into your living spaces. After all, a warm ceiling is not your goal. Do shut off the fan when you exit the room to help keep electricity costs down.
Keeping your windows in good shape is essential to reducing both heating and cooling costs. Your windows should be properly sealed to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from seeping into your home. Consider applying weatherstripping as well as caulking any gaps. You can also use plastic window insulation to improve energy efficiency.
You can better afford to make energy upgrades when you use current government incentives. The Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits and rebates that make buying energy-efficient appliances and other clean energy upgrades more affordable. You will use less electricity while enjoying increased convenience. Over time, the upgrades often pay for themselves in energy savings.
Winter Electrical Use
Electricity is a safe and efficient source of energy, one you count on to do so many things. And while it is a generally affordable energy source, the winter bills can be frightening. Embracing the above energy-saving measures should help you to significantly reduce your bill.
Electricity is not dangerous when used properly. Remember to use space heaters with care, remove flammable objects away from heat sources, and do not overload your outlets.
Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for Frisbees Inc