Winter Energy Saving Tips
Now that fall is finally here and winter is quickly approaching, use these energy efficient tips to help keep your winter heating bills low. Saving money in today’s economy is first and foremost for a lot of us. With just a few simple changes, you can reduce the amount of energy used in your home and protect your home from costly damage.
There are several easy fixes you can make inside your home to lower your utility bills. Most of these can be accomplished with a quick trip to your local hardware store and a little elbow grease. But if you’re looking for some long lasting, cost-effective fixes, be sure to contact your local energy and insulation expert. These professionals can provide the right energy analysis of your home and the proper air sealing and insulation that will keep your home comfortable and efficient throughout the year.
- Install a programmable thermostat and set it to a lower temperature at night and whenever the home is unoccupied. By lowering the thermostat just 10 degrees at night, you could save yourself 10 to 20 percent in your heating bill. Make sure your thermostat is installed and programmed correctly and is not located in a room that is not heated. The living room or a hallway is usually the best location.
- If you have a forced air furnace, be sure to change the filters at the beginning of the winter season and inspect them on a monthly basis.
- Purchase a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Moisture in the air tends to make our bodies feel warmer so a humidifier can make the lower temperature feel more comfortable.
- Using a wood burning fireplace to add supplemental heat may seem like a good idea but you may actually end up spending more money. A fireplace sucks the heated air from the inside of your home to add fuel to the fire and sends the exhaust back out through your chimney. Your furnace will then have to kick back on to replace the warm air you’ve just lost.
- Make sure your fireplace damper is closed and seal the opening when it is not in use.
- Replace old weather-stripping or caulk around windows. Be sure to check for any cracks in the frames and fill them with a caulk that contains silicon. Using “Rope Caulk”, a slightly more putty like substance, can help seal larger cracks and save as much as 5 percent on your home energy bill.
- Open south-facing window curtains, blinds or drapery during the day to capture as much heat as possible. Close the same window coverings at dusk to keep the heat inside.
- Seal off unused rooms or any room smaller than 100 square feet like half bathrooms, by closing floor registers and air vents. Make sure these rooms are NOT the area where the thermostat is located.
- Install plastic film on windows to help keep the cold at bay. This can be found at most major hardware stores and is an easy do-it-yourself weekend project.
- Keep doors (and windows) closed as much as possible.
- Check all exterior doors for air leaks. Most leaks can be solved with a simple application of weather-stripping or caulk. To check a door for air leakage simply have one person stand on one side of the door and shine a flashlight around the door frame. If you can see the light through the cracks, your door needs to be sealed. Another easy way to check is to place a piece of paper between the door and the frame then shut the door. If you can easily slide the paper out without tearing it, you should weatherstrip around the door.
- A water heater should be set below 125 degrees. Any higher and you run the risk of possibly scalding yourself later.
- Drain your water heater annually. This will remove any sediment that may affect your water heater’s long-term performance. Insulate the pipes around the water heater with inexpensive pipe insulation.
- When you’re cold, you want a blanket. You’re water heater is no different. Wrap a water heater blanket around it and replace it every 5 years.
We can’t stop winter from coming but we can make it more comfortable inside our home. All of the above mentioned fixes are inexpensive and easy to do by yourself or with a little help. There are other ways to save energy that may take a little more time, money or some professional help but in the end they too will help cut down costs.
- Have your furnace inspected and tuned by a professional
- Get your home properly insulated and weatherized
- Check your attic insulation. If you have less than 7 inches, considering upgrading your insulation
- Replace broken window panes
- Repair any large holes in attics, crawlspace or basements
- Seal exposed ductwork
While we can’t control what the weather does, we can at least be prepared for the worst. Prepping your home for the winter months and higher energy costs, will keep you and your family warm with maybe a little extra cash in your wallet. If you believe your home may need a bit more work, contact Dr. Energy Saver and schedule an energy audit today.