Heat in the winter

Winter is coming—save on energy costs

Ohioans are spending a significant chunk of change on household energy costs, yet most have not evaluated potential savings opportunities.

According to the 2018 Ohio Utility Rate Survey conducted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Ohio residents spend, on average, between $2,000 and $3,000 per year in household energy expenses.

This range is slightly higher than the national trends. Each household in the U.S. uses an average of 77.1 British thermal united (Btus) each year, costing each household about $1,856 per year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Heating, air conditioning, and water heating account for more than 74 percent of the energy consumed per household nationally and for 60 percent of the household energy dollars spent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With its population, industrial economy, and seasonal temperature ranges, Ohio is one of the top 10 states in total energy consumption.

Heating costs may be more dramatic in Ohio than the national average. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating accounts for 15 percent of each U.S. household’s energy expenditures. In Ohio’s residential sector, nearly 7 out of 10 households use natural gas to heat their homes and accounts for almost 30 percent of the state’s total consumption.

The U.S. Energy Administration data mirrors Ohio and other states because it costs more money to heat than cool. According to the data, Midwestern states spend $1,695 per year in energy expenditures with $681 dedicated to heating costs. Meanwhile, households in Southern states spend $1,917 per year in energy expenditures at $465, surprisingly attributed to heating costs while $392 covers cooling. 

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel calculates Ohioans spend more than 7 percent of their household income on energy costs and encourages consumers to make small home adjustments to reduce the financial burden on consumers.

With winter coming, now is the time to start saving on energy costs through these helpful tips:

  • Conduct an energy audit. Conduct a professional or DIY energy audit on your home to identify savings opportunities. 
  • Use the sun. Open the curtains during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home. Then close them at night to prevent losing heat through the windows.
  • Check window coverings. Cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to reduce infiltration.
  • Be smart with the thermostat. Adjust the thermostat as low as is comfortable when at home and awake. When away or asleep, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees and save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.   
  • Spot and seal leaks. Seal any air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind closets.
  • Tune-up. Schedule a routine tune-up on your heating system to ensure peak performance.
  • Clean air ducts. Clean your air ducts to ensure fresh, allergen-free air flows through your home.
  • Go LED. Use LED holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.