This story is part of, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Heating season is upon us and utility bills are expected to rise. In fact, utility companies and energy experts are warning that heating costs will rise on average by 12% nationally this winter -- and those bills for electricity, natural gas and oil may be even higher depending on location.
No matter how you heat and light your home, this winter it's likely to cost more. Add inand , high prices and expensive , you might already be feeling strain on your wallet. However, there are ways to extend your monthly budget.
One of easiest and most effective ways to save some money andis turning off your when you aren't using them. (We also recommend , of your thermostat and to save extra cash.)
Keep reading to learn why it's important to turn off the lights and how much money this simple habit can save you.
Why you should turn off your lights
You've probably been told time and time again the importance of conserving energy, but you might be wondering why it's so important.
First, reducing your energy usage by turning off your lights is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. Electricity generation is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. By turning off your lights when you aren't using them, you can do your part to reduce carbon emissions and therefore help the environment.
And reducing your home's energy usage doesn't just help the environment -- it also helps your wallet. Turning off lights when you don't need them can help to reduce your electricity bills. You'll also extend the life of your, which will save you money as well.
Here's how much money you can save by turning off the lights
The amount you can save on your electricity bill by turning off your lights depends on theyou use. You can figure your potential savings using the light bulb's wattage.
Let's say you have athat's 40 watts, meaning that in one hour, the bulb will use 0.04 kWh. Then, you can use your electricity price -- which you can find on your most recent utility bill -- to figure out how much you'll save for that hour. In the case of the 40-watt bulb, if you pay an electricity rate of 10 cents per kWh, your savings by turning that bulb off for one hour would be 0.4 cents.
Now, it's easy to see that number and think it's simply not worth it to turn off your lights more often. After all, what difference does 0.4 cents make?
First, remember that estimate is for a 40-watt bulb. If you have higher-wattage light bulbs, then the savings will be greater. Next, that estimate uses an energy price of 10 cents per kWh, but in many areas, the price of electricity may be higher than that.
Finally, our estimate looked at the savings of turning off one bulb for one hour. You likely have many light bulbs in your house, and there are far more than just one hour in a month. So when you calculate the savings of turning off all of your light bulbs for many more hours per month, your savings will increase significantly.
This small change means big savings in the long run
Turning off your lights when you aren't using them is one of the most basic steps you can take to reduce your energy usage and save money on your electricity bill. Just remember that even a small change can add up to big energy savings for you and also help reduce your carbon footprint.