The time of year for cozy sweaters, nights by the fireplace, and big mugs of hot cocoa is here. However, that means the time of year for all of the warm air in your home trying to escape and cold air from the outdoors trying to come in is also here. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy steps you can take before the temperatures drop to ensure that your home isn’t wasting energy and your energy bills aren’t being driven through the roof. Here are five of the best:
Utilize the sun’s heat. When the sun is shining during the day, take advantage of its warmth by opening the curtains on your south-facing windows. This is a wonderfully natural way to heat your home, and then you can easily close them at night to keep out the chill from the cold windows. If you use window tints during the summer, be sure to remove those. Window tints can block as much as 79% of solar heat, reducing cooling costs in the summer but working against you in the winter.
Cover drafty spots. The small gaps around your windows and doors are cold air’s opportunity to get in and warm air’s perfect exit path. To use less heat during the winter, block drafty spots by taping clear plastic film to the inside of the frames. You can also invest in insulating drapes or shades for your windows, or draft blockers to sit at the bottoms of your doors and windows.
Keep an eye on the thermostat. While everyone wants to be warm and cozy during the winter months, you can save money on your heating bill by turning down your thermostat when you’re asleep and away from home. You can save approximately 10% on your heating bills per year by turning your thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Snuggle up in blankets and socks, and just be sure that it’s warm enough for any pets at home.
Take care of leaky faucets. No matter what time of year it is, you waste a large amount of water if you have leaky faucets or pipes in your home. Approximately 10% of homes have leaks that waste at least 90 gallons of water per day. Have a professional come to look at leaky spots, or take up the DIY project and do it yourself.
Clean your ducts. Winter cleaning isn’t a classic activity you think of for the season, but it is a necessary bullet on your to-do list if you want to be more energy efficient. When air moves through your home’s ductwork to get from the furnace to the vents, some is lost and accumulates in what is known as distribution losses. These losses typically amount to 30% of your home energy bill. Before you have the heat blasting for months on end, consider having your air ducts cleaned out for better efficiency. For a less costly solution, change or clean your filters regularly to improve your furnace’s efficiency.
Of course, there are long-term solutions for energy efficiency if you’re willing to make an investment that will save you in the long run. According to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Homebuilders, 90% of respondents listed Energy Star appliances as a feature that was either essential or desirable on their most-wanted list. Purchasing these types of appliances will make your home energy efficient and your bills lower for years to come. Combine that investment with all of the small things you can do for energy efficiency, and you’ll be saving all winter long.
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