Heating your home could cost you more this winter; Here's some tips on how to save money

Posted at 7:19 AM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 08:22:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With temperatures dipping down into the 30s overnight this weekend, it's got us thinking about winter. Turns out, heating your home could cost you more because of the pandemic.

Think about it, if you work from home or your child is learning remotely, you'll be heating your home during the day when you normally wouldn't any other year.

A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is estimating you could spend about 7% more for electricity this year and about 6% more for natural gas.

"The rules of a normal winter have sort of gone out the window. We need to think of this as an extraordinary event and take extra precautions," Rob McNab, an economics professor at Old Dominion University.

You can cut costs to the electric bill by unplugging your phone after it's done charging and turning off electronics like TVs and lights when not in use.

Also, set your thermostat at 68 degrees. Just remember that for every degree you're willing to lower your thermostat, you can save 5%-10% on your monthly bill.

If you can, try to set a little extra money away just in case surprise expenses suddenly surface.

Remember, utilities like Nashville Electric Service are working with customers who have had trouble paying by setting up a 12-month payment plan. However, they will disconnect power at homes where there is no effort to pay outstanding bills.

If you’re a company employee who’s working from home for the first time, you can’t write off these bills on next year’s taxes. A law passed in 2018 no longer allows employees to write off any unreimbursed expenses.

Of course, if you're self-employed or a contractor, you can claim federal tax deductions for your home office.