To keep your energy bills under control this winter, make sure you properly prepare your home for the cold weather. This will help you save energy, money and keep your family comfortable indoors when the temperature drops. There are no cost and low cost ways to save on your energy bills this winter. Have a look at them below for some helpful tips.
Heating – For optimum heating and warm comfortable conditions, install a programmable thermostat. This way, you can lower the settings when the house is unoccupied and also during the night when everyone is asleep. You can save 10 to 20 percent on your heating bill by lowering the temperature by 10 degrees. You can also save on energy use by upto 3 percent if you wear socks and sweaters indoors to keep warm and then lowering your thermostat settings. However make sure that the thermostat is installed properly, programmed correctly and not situated in a heated area. Only then the thermostat can sense the average temperature indoors. Make sure to inspect your air filters and ducts before the cold season, if you have a forced air furnace. Replace or clean them to prevent dust build up and increase heating efficiency. Indoor heating can make the air inside very dry. For this, you can get a humidifier installed to add moisture to the air. Even if the thermostat is set for a lower temperature, heated air with moisture will make the indoor area feel warmer and more comfortable. If you need supplemental heating, you should never use a traditional fireplace. When the fireplace is not in use, you need to close the damper and seal the opening. That’s because the fireplace sucks warm conditioned air out of your home’s indoors to fuel the fire and then exhausts it through the chimney. Your furnace has to do double work by turning itself on and then replacing that warm air.
Windows and doors – To prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping, you need to keep your windows tightly shut and doors closed as much as possible. Look for drafts, cracks and openings in your windows and doors. Have someone help you in checking the doors by having them stand on the other side and shine a flashlight around the door’s perimeter. If you can see the light through any openings or cracks, then the door definitely needs to be sealed. Another thing you can do is to hold a piece of paper between the door’s frame and then shut it. If you are able to pull the paper out without tearing it, then it needs to be weather-stripped. You can caulk windows as much as needed. Install storm windows, open up south facing drapes and curtains during the day to let in warm sunlight and close them at night to keep the heat in. Other things you can do is to seal off all unused rooms in your house as long as it is not the place your thermostat is located and is less than 100 square footage in area.
Water heater – You can save a lot on energy bills by making sure to set the temperature of your water heater no higher than 125 degrees. To remove sediment that will interfere with the efficient working system of your heater, drain off a bucket of hot water from it annually. If the water heater is older than 5 years, you can install a water heater blanket. Also it makes sense to insulate pipes around the heater as this will be really helpful if it is installed in an unheated space.
Other ways to lower energy costs – Consider upgrading your home’s insulation if it is less than R-38 in rating, which is the standard requirement for homes. You should also check your attic’s insulation and seal areas which could have leaks like basements, garages and crawlspaces. If you are using special lighting for the holidays, make sure you buy new LED holiday lights. Dispose of older strings of incandescent lights as they can use up to 99 percent more energy than new ones. Switch off holiday lights before going to bed or when you are leaving the house. Make sure you don’t use them for more than six hours in a day to keep energy usage down. For this you can install lighting timers to make them turn on or off automatically.