While daytime temperatures may feel good this week, the nighttime temps are chilly and that’s not going to improve anytime soon. Residents are turning on furnaces nationwide and they’ll stay on for the next few months. People may argue over where to set the thermostat or how to weatherize, but some parts of the country have an easier time with winter utility bills than others.
HOP Energy out of Rye Brook, NY conducted a survey to see how Americans are managing their energy bills, as well as their preferred temperatures and winterizing methods.
Nationwide, the survey found the average utility bill is $201 per month. New England residents pay the most to keep their homes comfortable, with an average bill of $245, or 22% above the national average. Residents of the South don’t fare much better, with average bills of $213 a month, or 6% above average. The best place to live for low utility bills is the Midwest, with average utility bills of $180, or 10% below average.
Nationwide, 65% of Americans don’t have trouble paying utility bills, but in the South that number drops to 50%. The survey says 67% of residents nationwide are trying to keep their bills lower. The most popular ways to lower bills are:
- 64% are switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- 54% are unplugging devices not in use.
- 45% have the washing machine set to cold water.
- 42% prefer to open windows than turn on the air conditioning.
- 34% keep their home temperature close to the outdoor temperature.
Winterizing helps control utility costs, but the prices can vary, depending on where you live. While 28% of Americans plan to winterize this year, it’s going to cost New England residents $605 on average, the highest in the country. Winterizing in the Midwest is a very economical $181 on average, while the rest of the country ranges from $330-$500. The top winterizing projects include:
- 50% will have their systems inspected.
- 48% will use plastic sheeting on windows.
- 47% plan to use door sweeps to keep the chill away.
- 40% will clean the gutters.
- 39% will install weather stripping.
- 37% will reverse directions on their ceiling fans.
Americans like to keep their thermostats at 69 degrees on average, according to the survey. Southern residents prefer things toasty, with an average thermostat setting of 70.1 degrees. Midwesterners keep their thermostats at 69.5 degrees, on average, and the chilliest part of the country is in the West, with an average thermostat setting of 67.4 degrees.
For more information from the survey, including the most popular methods of heating, click here.