A few years ago we got our first $400+ bill from Vectren for natural gas. Gulp! We vowed that would be the last of it's kind. So it was a hunt to find all the extra gas leaks.
First to get scrutinized was the thermostat. Did we really need a 68 degree room temp during the winter? How low could we go? I'm proud to say that we can manage as low as we feel safe that the pipes won't freeze. Our room temp is now 55 degrees. Yup, it's cold in here. But we layer our clothes like crazy. Blankets boast permanent residence in the living room, including an electric blanket for group snuggling. We drink lots of hot tea, and dine on soup fairly often. And we always, ALWAYS have slippers on.
Then the water heater. For awhile I tried turning it off, then getting up early and starting it up in time to warm for the morning showers. This didn't seem to save a whole lot of cha-ching. We turned it down to 120 degrees. Sure, we could go lower, but it's a trade-off...when the house is cold, the last thing you'd want to do is step into a lukewarm shower. Brrrr!
And finally, the fireplace. Our home was built with a beautiful fireplace gracing the living room. It's so cool, it even has a remote starter! But one night, in the middle of our gas-reduction crisis, I noticed a little blue light under the fake logs. A-ha! A pilot light! How long had that been on? It was a duh moment for me. Now we light up the fireplace of special occasions, like when we're entertaining and on holidays.
And it's all been worth it. People (read: my mother) look at us like we're nuts, but our Vectren bill has more than halved itself. We're better equipped to handle the outside cold, because the temperature difference is not as drastic. And it binds us together as a family, working towards the common goal of lower utility bills. Win-win-win!
What are you doing to lower your bills this winter? Got any new tips for me?