14 Creative Tips for Saving on Energy Costs This Winter
As winter approaches, homeowners across the country are bracing themselves for the cold. Proper winterization of your home is more than checking the fuel levels in your oil tanks and calling the professionals for routine maintenance on your equipment.
Preparation for the impending cold snap also includes giving your home an energy assessment; are their ways you can save money this winter season, and be more environmentally-friendly?
Luckily, cutting your heating costs doesn’t mean you have to be miserable all winter. There are ways to save money and comfort.
14 Tips to Cut Energy Costs Without Affecting your Comfort
1. Turn Down the Heat
One of the most obvious ways to save energy this winter is by lowering the thermostat. According to Energy.Gov, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day. You’ll hardly miss those seven degrees, especially if you offset it with an additional layer of clothing.
2. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Windows
Did you know that during the winter, up to 30% of your home’s heat can escape through low-efficiency windows? Installing windows with a low emissivity coating is a great way to reduce your energy consumption. These specially-designed windows reflect heat, helping to keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. These windows quickly pay for themselves with the year-round savings they provide.
3. Check Seals Around Your Home
Poorly insulated windows aren’t the only places that the winter chill can seep in. It’s also wise to check the insulation and seals around doors, windows and electrical outlets to ensure the heat you’re pumping into your home remains inside. If you notice drafts, quick weather stripping or caulking around the frames will help seal the gaps.
4. Humidify Your Home
During the winter months, it is common for the air inside your house to become too dry. In addition to negative effects on your health and wood furniture, dry air can make your house feel colder. Investing in a humidifier will let your home’s air hold more heat so you feel warmer at lower temperatures.
5. Keep the Furnace Clear
If your furnace is blocked, the warm air can’t circulate through your home, which will cause your energy bill to skyrocket. Worse still, if you continue to crank the heat without noticing the obstruction, you could put your home at risk of a fire. Make sure that your heating system is clear of all furniture and curtains which may be blocking its heat from the rest of the room.
6. Switch Your Ceiling Fan’s Rotation
You probably know that hot air rises. So, if you adjust your ceiling fan’s blades to rotate clockwise, you can help push warm air back down into the room. This simple tip keeps your home toastier, with minimal energy consumption.
7. Move Away From Fire-Burning Appliances
While fireplaces may be a token aesthetic of the winter season, they aren’t always the most energy-efficient. By switching to an EPA certified-model wood heater or furnace, you can conserve energy and dollars on your energy bill. Before purchasing, look to see if the model you’re considering is eligible for a tax credit.
8. Use Solar Energy
No, you don’t have to spring for solar panels to enjoy heating benefits of the sun. You can also absorb the warmth of the sun in your home by drawing the curtains of south-facing windows during the day. The additional heat can help reduce the temperature on your thermostat and save you money on your energy bills.
9. Minimize Your Heating Space
If you live in a large home, do you need heat distributed through the entire house? Or are some rooms more important to warm than others?
If you spend the majority of your time in a bedroom or living room, see if a portable space heater is more effective in keeping your overall heating costs down throughout the winter season.
10. Limit Exhaust Fan Use
Next time you take a shower or begin cooking, think twice about turning on the bathroom and oven hoods fans. These exhaust fans are often-overlooked sources of heat loss, and using them frequently can add to your heating bills.
11. Optimize Your Lighting
Did you know that LED bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional lighting? The energy savings potential is an especially important piece of information around the holiday season when homeowners tend to illuminate their homes more than usual.
Switching to more efficient bulbs has the potential to save you a decent chunk of change this holiday season.
12. Stay Consistent
Having your home’s temperature at a consistent temperature — as opposed to continuously turning it on and off — will save energy. That’s because, each time you turn your heater on and off, your boiler needs to exert more energy to warm up. Once you switch the heater off again, you’re wasting energy as the boiler begins to cool off again.
If you don’t have one already, smart thermostats are a great way to keep your temperature at a consistent, and therefore cost-effective, level.
13. Cook Strategically
Use your cooking heat strategically to add extra warmth to your home. For example,
once you’re done baking your holiday goods, keep the oven door open to allow the excess heat to warm up your home.
Additionally, think about how you’re using your stovetop. If you’re using the largest burner for a small ban, you’re wasting energy. Next time you whip up a small amount of food, ensure that you’re only using a small pan on a small burner.
14. Update Your Appliances
If your boiler is between 15 and 20-years-old, consider updating your equipment to a newer, state-of-the-art model. Updating your equipment is especially if your oil tank or heating equipment is showing signs decreased efficiency.
By switching to a more efficient model, you can reduce oil usage by up to 30% every year.
To uncover areas in your home that may be losing energy efficiency, contact an expert for a professional energy assessment of your home. By thoroughly examining areas for improvement in your home, you can have a direct impact on your footprint in the environment, and enjoy a lowered monthly bill.