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Lower Energy Costs At Home Despite The Polar Vortex

frustrated man with billsPeople who are trying to save money on their monthly expenses are usually trying to lower energy costs. This is one of the categories in a household budget that you can cut back on. There is always an alternative for the sources of energy that we usually require. In most cases, we use it to keep warm during the cold winter days or cool during the hot summer season. For the cold, we can use fire and for the warmer climate, we can simply throw open the windows to let the air in the house.

The US Energy Information Administration released a forecast last October 2013 that showed expectations of a higher heating energy consumption in over 90% of households. This is the forecast in the EIA.gov for the months starting October 2013 until March 2014. The expected average cost per household will be as follows:

  • Natural gas: $679 for the whole winter season. This amount is an increase of 13% compared to the 2012 cold season.

  • Propane: $1,666 for the whole winter season. A 9% increase compared to the same season in 2012.

  • Electric heat: $909 for the whole winter season. A 2% increase from last year’s winter consumption.

  • Heating oil: $2,046 for the whole winter season. 2% lower energy cost compared to last year.

Of course, these changes in price are mainly because of the increase in energy prices. But based on recent news, it seems that this forecast may be even more than what was expected. With the polar vortex sweeping across the country since late last week, lower energy costs will be very hard to achieve at this point.

How the polar vortex is expected to raise energy costs

Based on an article from the USNews.NBCNews.com, the polar vortex, although it will start to go closer to normal today is still affecting more than half of the US population. Heating costs are still expected to rise and it is not expected to go down anytime soon.

It is still expected to be quite cold in the central and eastern part of the US as the lingering effects of this weather phenomenon will continue. On Tuesday, January 7, the temperature went below normal in dozens of cities.

The polar vortex is air that came from the North Pole that went further south that it usually does. The blame is being pointed at climate change and global warming and experts are saying that it might be a reasonable assumption. But despite the cause, we are all focused on how this particular drop in temperature will affect the beginning of our year.

All of these should make you wonder about how your household budget will spike this January. Considering the cold temperature outside, people are scrambling to keep their homes warm and toasty. Reports have been made of death tolls rising because of the extreme cold brought about by the polar vortex. You do not want health costs to add up to the worries that you have so making sure that the family stays warm during this time. According to the same article cited above, the cold temperature is more dangerous when combined with the gusts of wind and snow drifts.

Combined with the holiday debt that most people acquired late last year, the polar vortex is bound to make things a lot more complicated for the average American family – at least financially speaking. You have to consider the effects of the cold in your home too. It may be time to start checking for damages incurred when spring season comes in. Be prepared to shell out more money to keep yourself from borrowing money just to afford all of these future expenses.

What to do to keep your energy consumption down to save money

While the polar vortex in itself is far from being a financial concern, you cannot deny the effects that it will bring to your household budget. The main effect is actually on your plans to lower energy costs. No doubt about it, this will be a major challenge considering how cold it really is outside.

But thankfully, there are tips that you can use to help keep your costs down this winter time. It all begins with efforts to go green. If you did not know, saving the environment has surprising financial benefits.

Here are some important considerations to keep your costs low and still keep warm.

  • Bundle up indoors so you can lower your thermostats. Try to lower the thermostat between 60 to 70 degrees. This will help you lower energy costs by 5%. Lower it even further when you will be leaving your house for a long time.

  • Use your thick comforters while sleeping so you can lower the thermostat at night.

  • Put towels, a long pillow or even newspaper under the door to keep the heat inside. You can do the same for your window sills.

  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs so they last up to 12 times longer than the usual. Turn off the lights that are not in use.

  • Change your thermostat into the programmable one to help regulate the heating system in your home.

  • Make sure the furnace filters are clean. A dirty filter will restrict the flow of air and that will cause you to spend more on energy.

  • Try to avoid using the exhaust fans when not necessary.

  • Make sure water leaks are fixed.

  • Turn off appliances that are not being used. Do not let them go on standby mode.

  • Buy energy efficient appliances to replace your old ones. Make sure these have the Energy Star logo.

  • Put your water heater to normal (120 degrees Fahrenheit) if you can manage it.

  • Use rugs on the floor. They can help insulate the floor and make walking a lot more comfortable.

Since the effects of the polar vortex is expected to decline in the next few weeks, you may want to see how you can lower your energy costs exponentially. It is understandable to try to stay warm because there are deaths related to this weather phenomenon after all. you do not want to sacrifice the health of your family. But once it is over, we still have a couple of winter months ahead of us. Try to lower your energy consumption as much as we can.

Here are additional tips that you can benefit from when you implement them during the cold season.

  • Make sure you use non-toxic substances like clay cat litter, stove ash or sand when de-icing your surroundings.

  • Protect your vehicle from the cold season too. You do not want to add car repair in your growing list of expenses.

  • Save the ashes from your fireplace. You can use that later on to fertilize your garden.

  • Use your old newspapers as logs. Get a broom stick, roll it in newspaper until it is big enough in diameter. Soak it in water and leave it to dry overnight. You can use it as an ordinary wood the next day.

  • You do not have to heat non-insulated parts of your house if you do not have to. These places include the storage sheds, garage, attics, etc.

  • If a room is not being used, you can just close the door to keep the heating system from working on places where it does not have to.

These tips are all meant to help you lower energy costs during the winter but make sure that you keep things in moderation. If you really need your home to be warm, do not sacrifice the comfort and health of your family. There are other ways for you to cut back on household expenses.

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