Tips for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient This Winter
A chill is already in the air as the winter season slowly begins to creep in. If you’re dreading the high energy bills that come along with the biting winds and snowfall, you aren’t alone. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American household spends over $2,000 on home energy costs every year, with peak months being the summer and winter. This is why making sure your home is energy efficient is vital.
Did you know that many homes actually waste energy on a daily basis? Factors like old appliances or leaky windows and doors can take a toll on your utility bills, but there are a few ways you can save energy in your home- and stay more comfortable throughout the winter, too!
Winter Energy Efficiency Tips
Before your furnace really starts kicking into gear, here are a few energy efficiency tips to ensure your bills don’t skyrocket for the next several months:
- Let the sun shine in. The sun rays can naturally warm up a room, especially those facing the south or west. Keep the curtains or blinds open in these rooms throughout the day and soak in that vitamin D.
- Check for and seal any drafts and leaks. Take a walk around your home and take note of any areas that seem cooler than others, especially around doors, windows, fireplaces, and in unfinished spaces behind cupboards or in closets. Add weather-stripping or caulk up any noticeable gaps. Just plugging up places where cold air can seep in can save you up to 20% on your heating costs.
- Give your HVAC system a tune-up. It’s recommended to schedule an annual, professional furnace checkup to make sure your HVAC systems is running as efficiently as possible- especially if your furnace is getting up there in age. Plus, make sure to change the furnace filter on a monthly basis, as a dirty filter can slow down the warm air trying to flow through your home.
- Lower your water temperature. Heating the water in your home accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home, so make sure your water heater is set no higher than 130 degrees. You can also consider wrapping your water heater in a specially-made “blanket” to help retain some of the heat inside.
- Turn off things you aren’t using. This might seem like common sense, but people can be forgetful as they’re walking out of a room, leaving lights and electronics on at full power. Power strips can come in handy here, as they’ll allow you to turn off everything with one switch; TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, etc.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are fairly simple to install, and they allow you to set the temperature at various points throughout the day. You can set it lower when you’re not at home and overnight, and set it to turn back up when you’re there. Programmable thermostats can save you an average of 10% on your overall heating and cooling costs.
- Decorate with LEDs this year. Getting ready to start decorating for the holidays? Consider replacing your current strings of lights with LEDs. LED lights use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs and as a bonus, they’ll last up to 40 seasons!
Are you ready for winter?