There are clear environmental and financial benefits to making your home more energy efficient this winter. You’ll be warmer, your utility bills will drop, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.
There are changes you can make throughout your home to ensure you use less energy. Some are easy and require very little effort on your part, and others require a small investment that will pay off over time.
1. Make Better Use of the Sun
Energy from the sun is free, and you can heat your home by opening the curtains in south-facing rooms during the day. As night falls and the temperature drops, cover again to keep the heat inside and help block the chill.
If you live in a very cold climate, it may be worth the investment to get heavier blinds that will provide you with more thermal protection. You can also look at your landscaping to see if you have any branches of trees or shrubs shading your home and cutting them back.
2. Say Goodbye to Air Leakage
Eliminate air leaks around your home by investing in window and door protection. Use putty for small cracks around windows. Put new weather protection around your door and where the windows open.
Spray foam is great for larger gaps, but you may have to remove trim around the window to find them. Pay close attention to pipes, electrical outlets and vents located on outside walls or on the floor.
3. Cover Draft Doors and Windows
The custom plastic sheeting kit comes with a handy piece of plastic and the double-sided tape you’ll need to secure the shutters. You can also replace worn protective coatings, adjust door sills for a better fit, and get door sweepers that will help block any greater airflow.
If within budget, new windows and doors will pay for themselves after a few years of lower heating bills.
4. Maintain Your HVAC System
A properly tuned heater costs less to run and performs more effectively. Invest in a setup year to ensure that your blower is pointed properly, everything is lubricated, and your system is ready to go.
This is also a good time to vacuum the vent covers and make sure you aren’t blocking the vents with furniture or curtains.
5. Remember the Fireplace
Fireplaces are a major source of heat loss, but there are steps you can take to stop them. Always close the damper unless you are using it.
If you never use them, you can install and seal the chimney, and replace the wood racks with electric heaters which will give you the atmosphere you want without losing heat. Invest in quality fireplace doors to block further drafts.
6. Open Programmable in Thermostat
The digital thermostat allows you to leave it on and forget about it, so you don’t have to worry about the heat rising throughout the day. You can also set it to drop lower at night when everyone will be covered in thick blankets on the bed.
After raise the thermostat, take a walk in the house to adjust the ventilation. Shut off the vents to unused rooms and close the doors. Heat rises, so leave the first-floor vents fully open and then completely or partially close the top-floor vents to even out the temperature throughout the house.
7. Turn the Ceiling Fan over
Most ceiling fans allow you to reverse the direction to achieve better airflow and trap heat inside in the winter. Use a low setting to heat the room effectively. You can also add a humidifier to make things feel warmer than they really are.
8. Lower the Hot Water Setting
Check the temperature of your water heater. If it’s above 120 degrees, you might want that take this down a notch to save money. If you are traveling, then lower the water heater to the lowest setting to make it more efficient.
9. Ghost Electric Discharges Are Real
Electrical plugs that have boxes at the ends are proven to be able to draw power even when they are not in use. When your phone is finished charging, unplug it from the wall and phone into economical.
Go to homes and other electronic identification that are not used regularly and disconnect them to stop this ghost drain.
10. Use LEDs for the Holidays
Most holiday decorations are now available with LED lights. This includes yard ornaments, trees, and lights for your roof. You can even take advantage of a trade-in program where your local shop will give you a nominal credit for a pack of old lamps that aren’t as efficient.
LEDs are 75 percent more efficient than regular light bulbs, and they last much longer. You’ll spend a little more on decor this year, but you’ll see a big difference in your utility bill afterward.
A few small changes can make a big difference in your energy bill. You will enjoy the savings, and be greatly appreciated knowing that you are doing your part to conserve our energy sources, help the environment, and protect the planet.