Steps to drive down energy costs this winter

Photo of Chris Carr

With many people still working and attending school from home, saving money this winter is a priority.

Americans spent approximately $6 billion more on energy between the months of April and July of 2020. This increase was due largely to the pandemic and the more time Americans were spending at home using internet and electronics, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

While many are still stuck inside with the winter, upcoming flu season and ongoing pandemic not allowing for that to change anytime soon, there are strategies that can save money going forward.

Phantom load

The term phantom load refers to electronics and devices that passively use electricity. This can be anything from game systems to phone chargers that are left plugged in. One way to combat the energy drain is through the employment of power strips. This way you can turn off the strip when the devices are not in use, instead of going through the hassle to unplug everything.

Investing in alternative energy sources

A good source of power is solar power. After the initial investment in the solar panels, savings per month in electricity could be anywhere from $44 to $187, according to Solar Nation. For many Americans, this can make a significant difference in monthly electricity costs.

Other at-home practices

Small changes around the house can make a difference in monthly spending. Changing out regular light bulbs for LED's can help save more. They can be purchased at most grocery and general stores. Another way to decrease costs is to wash your clothes on cold and air dry whenever possible.


For any year, making sure your home is weatherized can both lower heating bills and improve comfort. Weatherizing can entail anything from using heavier, insulating curtains and draft dodgers to caulking leaky areas in a house.

Many energy companies have peak hour rates where they charge more during peak energy use times. Contact your local energy company and see when these times are so your household can limit energy consumption between those hours.