Customers sometimes are surprised at the sudden spike in their monthly electric bill during winter months. Heating is most often the cause of such increases. There are several dos and don’ts you can follow, though, to compensate for heating costs and keep your energy bill from jumping too high.

DO …

• Consider purchasing a smart thermostat. Most models monitor the weather and adapt to your habits to intelligently control the temperature of your home.
• Reevaluate the ideal temperature of your home. Reducing the typical temperature by just a few degrees can result in energy savings. Even if you prefer a warm house during waking hours, most people are comfortable with 68 degrees or lower while sleeping.
• Take advantage of the heat provided by natural sunlight. Keep open the window coverings on the south side of your home on sunny days. (Remember to close them at night, though, to insulate from the cold.)
• Have your heating system serviced.
Add insulation with a minimum rating of R38. Your attic might require a rating of up to R60.

DON’T …

• Use inefficient devices such as space heaters and baseboard heaters. If they are your only option, though, be more mindful of their use by not leaving them on in unoccupied rooms and making sure any built-in thermostats are functioning correctly.
• Forget to change the furnace filter regularly.
• Rely on the thermostats attached to specific-use devices such as gutter heaters and ice melt systems. These thermostats often use temperature – and not necessarily actual weather conditions, like snow and ice – to activate the device, even when there is no need.
• Run too many devices at the same time. Most people tend to stack their household activities – drying a load of laundry while simultaneously baking cookies, for instance – which raises your home’s peak demand. If possible, try to stagger your use of large household appliances.