BOSTON – Winter is coming and while typically snow gets all the headlines, this year the rising cost of energy is on everyone’s mind.
Bill Stacks, an energy expert from Eversource, has some simple tips to save you money this season.
He says letting the sun heat your home by opening your blinds is a simple and easy way to save. Don’t forget to close them once the sun goes down to trap the heat inside. Also, use LED lights, which use 90 percent less energy than older bulbs. You can also reduce costs by making sure your heating vents are clear and no furniture or curtains are blocking the flow of hot air. If you have a furnace, making sure to change your filters every month to keep the air clear and free flowing.
Another thing to keep in mind – items in your house that are not in use, but still plugged in, like televisions and game consoles. They’re producing what’s called “phantom power.”
“Ten to fifteen percent of your electric bill is phantom power. That’s why we recommend using these power costs savers. You can utilize two or three of these slots to have items constantly on, like your cable box, then you have others that will automatically shut off when not in use,” Stacks told WBZ-TV.
That kind of power cord along with a number of other energy saving items for your home can be found at Mass Save Marketplace. This online store has discounted prices with rebates already applied to the purchase price, like programmable thermostats which may be one of the best ways to control heating costs this winter.
“If you have those old dial thermostats, move to a programmable thermostat. Where you can program to dial it down when you are asleep or when you are not at home. Better yet, a smart thermostat, that way you can control it remotely If you wanted to,” Stacks said.
Moving from the living room to the kitchen, one of the biggest ways to save is to upgrade appliances to Energy Star level.
“They are high efficient, they cost you less to run and they are the best products on the market as well,” Stacks explained.
He also said says Investing in Energy Star appliances now will save you money in the long run. Another tip is to make sure your dishwasher, washer and dryer are full when you run them. Half loads waste energy and money.
Lastly, one of the biggest ways to put money back into your pocket is to add insulation to your home.
“A home that is not properly insulated, is like leaving a window open all year round,” Stacks told WBZ. “One of the biggest things people can do to save is add insulation to their home. Weatherize some of these older homes in New England, especially those built before 2000 when the codes were different. So, we strongly recommend you have a home energy assessment and talk to one of our experts, to see just how much insulation you need.”
Knowing how to conserve energy, like turning off a light switch when you’re not there, can help you save money, but knowing where your energy is coming from can save you big bucks on your bill.
“Boston Choice Electric is a program we’ve created to make sure that every Boston resident has access to cleaner affordable energy,” Reverend Mariama White-Hammond told WBZ..
She says there’s no catch. This program gives people the option to choose up to 100-percent renewable energy for a discounted flat rate, with most options less expensive than the current basic price of Eversource right now.
“You could have 100% renewable energy for 14 cents. You could be the greenest person on your block and still be paying less than your neighbor on Eversource,” White-Hammond says.
You can sign up here. The fixed rate would continue through December 2023 despite an expected increase in cost for utilities this winter.
“For instance, right now, if you’re on basic Eversource in Boston, you’re paying 18 cents a kilowatt hour. We expect that to rise significantly by January 1st because all energy prices are rising significantly. However, on the Boston standard you would be paying 11 cents. You could cut your bill in half and have cleaner energy,” White-Hammond told WBZ.
There are a number of communities across the state that have similar programs. Visit your town or city’s website to find out more.