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Cozy up to our simple winter savers

That’s a great question. Thanks for asking.

Q. I rent, so I can’t add insulation or make other improvements to my place. Are there any easy, low-cost ways to control my electric bill this winter?

Absolutely! We want to help you save energy and money. Here are five free and inexpensive savers that work for both renters and homeowners alike. You’ll control your bill while still keeping comfortable.

  1. Use Energy Tracker. Our free tool is now easier to use than ever. You’ll quickly see when and how you’re using the most energy — and spot ways to save — by comparing bills and at-a-glance charts.
  2. Sign up for bill alerts. You can receive weekly text or email alerts to avoid bill surprises. If you see your energy use going up, you can quickly make changes to save before your next bill even arrives.
  3. Practice thermostat control. Each degree you lower your thermostat in winter saves about 2 percent on your heating bill. A good setting is 68 degrees when you’re awake, 60 when you’re asleep or gone. And remember: Setting your thermostat higher won’t heat a room faster — it just wastes energy. If you own your home, consider a smart thermostat —or if you rent, ask your landlord about installing one. See our story on smart thermostats.
  4. Make the most of room-by-room heat. If you have electric baseboard or other type of zonal heat, close doors to rooms you’re not using and lower the heat in those areas (but watch for mold or mildew and adjust if needed). Download zonal tips.
  5. Check your water heater setting. After heating and cooling, your water heater is likely the biggest energy user in your home. So make sure it’s set to 120 degrees. That’s not only energy efficient, it’s safer, too, because you’ll avoid scalding temperatures. View our video that shows how to safely lower your electric water heater thermostat.

Want more ways to save? Check our list of top 20 savings actions for ideas you can use right now.