It’s that time of year again for the energy bill to start “heating” up. But, we’ve learned a few tricks from winters past that allow us to keep costs to a minimum. Here are five ways to trim your energy spending this winter.
1: Utilize a programmable thermostat.
For $50 or less, you can remove the worry of remembering to lower the thermostat before you leave for work each day. A programmable thermostat can be set to different times throughout the day, so you can rest assured that your home is not being heated when you don’t want it to be. By utilizing a “smart” thermostat properly, you have the potential to cut approximately 14% off of your heating bill.
2: Let the sun do its thing.
You would be amazed at how quickly a room can heat up from the sun’s rays. Take advantage of the sunlight by opening your blinds and curtains during the day. Likewise, be sure to close them tight at night to keep the warmth from escaping. The nice thing about sunlight is that it doesn’t cost anything!
3: Limit use of the fireplace.
It may seem contradictory to not use your fireplace during the months that actually require warmth, but it can do more harm than good. Not only does a fire suck heat from a room, but also the open flue sends a lot of heat out of your house. If you do not use your fireplace, make sure that the damper is closed.
4: Find and fix any leaks.
We all have a drafty window or an attic door that doesn’t seal properly. There are a couple of different tests that you can do to determine if you have a leak, like holding a lit incense stick to an area that you think may be drafty. With minimal cost, these leaks are easy to fix, and you can do it yourself. Use caulk around windows to nip those drafts in the bud. Weather stripping can be applied to doors, or windows, and the use of door sweeps for exterior doors will protect against cool air coming in.
5: Give the water heater some attention.
This idea is twofold: lower the temperature and wrap the heater with insulation. A lot of people have their water heaters set too high, which uses more energy because the water is trying to reach an unnecessary temperature. Take a look at what your heater is set at – a temperature of 115-120 degrees should be sufficient. Also, unless you have an already insulated water heater, it may be wise to purchase an insulation jacket for the heater. It helps to keep standing water warm.
Christopher Solomon, “14 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill”, MSN Real Estate