Winter is creeping closer and closer as evidenced by the last of the leaves hitting the ground onto frost-covered grass. Since the weather has gotten cooler and our heater has been warming us for quite some time now, we have already received our monthly energy bill and seen a nice chunk of our budget disappear. Spending more time inside and running the energy-draining comforts of home always takes its toll but fortunately for you guys, we have put together a list of eight simple energy saving tips.
1| Utilize the Sun
- Although it may feel like a rarity in winter the sun does shine on occasion. When it does, take advantage and open those blinds. Sunbeams through the window create a sort of greenhouse effect naturally heating your home.
- Make sure to close them in the evening, as windows are not as well insulated as walls and will make your home cooler. Consider purchasing insulated curtains to further prevent the cold from creeping in.
2| Beware of Drafts
- Poorly sealed windows mean your heater has to work harder; caulk and weather-strip around drafty windows and doors.
3| Close Up Unused Rooms
- Why heat rooms you don’t use? Close the doors and the vents in areas of the house you are never in to lessen the stress on your system.
4| Lower Your Thermostat and Warm Yourself
- Layer your clothing and grab those blankets! It costs much less to warm your body versus warming your home. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, on average you can save 3% on your heating bill for each degree that you turn your thermostat down during the winter.
5| Get a Smart Thermostat
- Can’t bear a cold house? Get a smart thermostat and only lower the temperature when everyone is asleep, or no one is home. Again, the U.S. DOE says you can save approximately 10% on your energy bill by lowering the thermostat 10° for just eight hours.
- These devices are WIFI enabled meaning you can adjust them easily and at any time. Talk with your HVAC professional about whether this is right for your home.
6| Manage Your Water
- Nobody needs water to be higher than the “hot” setting on your water heater. Any higher than 120° and it will scald your hands so make sure your water heater is set correctly and avoid spending excess money.
- Consider washing your laundry in cold water, limiting showers to ten minutes or less, and only cleaning the laundry and dishes when the machines are full. Using less water, especially hot water, is key.
7| Circulate the Air
- Ceiling fans aren’t just for cooling! Normally ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise pushing air down, however, most fans have a reverse switch that will rotate them clockwise, pushing air upwards; since heat rises this air will disperse the warm air collecting on the ceiling. Cool, right?
8| Buy Green
- If you are needing to replace an appliance consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR certified one. This rating is backed by the government as the standard for energy efficiency. Not only will it help your monthly bill it is also good for the environment.
- The ENERGY STAR rating is given to everything from dishwashers to holiday lights. You could have every appliance in your home operating at the peak of energy efficiency.
9| Check Your Insulation
- Do the simple touch test. Your walls and floors should feel warm and dry, if this is not the case you should have your insulation inspected. A poorly insulated home will make your HVAC system work harder, costing you money.
10| Maintain Your Heating System
- Call and schedule service for your HVAC unit. Making sure your system is working at maximum efficiency before the winter months hit the hardest is important.
- Replace filters for your system once a month, or as needed. A clogged filter inhibits airflow which again, will cause the system to work harder and end up costing you money.
If, much like the weather, your energy bills have become frightful, consider following this guide to a more energy efficient home. Even just trying one or two of these tips could help take the burden off of your budget; which is likely already taking a hit from the holidays! Stay warm and enjoy the holiday season in comfort and economy.