Summer and winter are peak seasons for energy consumption. With winter right around the corner, we can expect to see those dreaded increases in our energy bills. What can you do to help lower some of these rising energy costs in the winter months? Check out these tips to save energy AND save money this winter:
- Lower your thermostat 10-15 degrees during the daytime. The Department of Energy reports this can save you up to 10% on your energy bill each year.
- Use a programmable thermostat and set it to lower the temperature during the day when you aren’t home and raise the temperature in the evening when you are.
- Only heat the rooms you use. Close and seal vents to the rooms that you don’t use.
- Running heat during the winter can dry out the air in your home. Use a humidifier or bring in houseplants to add moisture to the air.
- Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to naturally heat your home.
- Close curtains and blinds at night to retain the heat obtained during the day.
- Install Energy Star windows and doors and use weatherstripping around them.
- Use plastic film inside your window frames to prevent drafts.
- Use ceiling fans on a low setting to push warm air down into your rooms.
- Use exhaust fans sparingly because they pull warm air out of your home.
- Make sure to shut off exhaust fans when you are done using them.
- Keep the damper closed unless you have a fire burning as warm air will escape through your chimney.
- If you don’t use your fireplace, seal and plug the chimney flue.
- Install tempered glass doors.
- Install a heat-air exchange system to blow warm air back out into the room.
- Make sure the seal on the damper flue is snug.
- Caulk around the hearth.
- Lower the temperature setting on your water heater to warm (120 degrees).
- Switch to LED light bulbs which use 75% less energy, last 25 times longer, and emit less heat than traditional light bulbs.
- Use LED holiday lights and put them on a timer if possible. If not, make sure to unplug them when you leave your home and when you go to bed.
- Unplug small appliances when they are not being used.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated.
- Seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.