In some ways, winter weather is magical. Crisp air and falling snow help make the holidays a special time of year. The higher heating bills, however, are anything but magical. Thankfully, there are many free and otherwise affordable ways to make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly this winter. Home Improvement Leads offers tips for cutting down your electricity use during the cold months.
1) Get an energy audit
Before you invest time and money in updates and repairs, consider getting an energy audit. Someone from your electric company will come to your home and look for problem areas that are causing you to use more energy than you need.
2) Let the sun shine in
Instead of running your heater all winter, why not take advantage of a 100% free heat source? Open up your blinds and curtains throughout the day to let warmth in, then close them at night to trap it inside.
3) Maintain your vents and furnace
Making sure your furnace is in tip top shape is a simple but vastly important step to having an efficient winter. Check to make sure the pilot light is burning. Look at the filter and change it if it’s been a few months since you’ve replaced it. Clear debris around the unit and make sure to clean your vents around the house.
4) Use rugs to insulate
If you have hardwood, tile, or concrete floors, your home is probably a bit chillier in winter than you would like. But area rugs can act as insulating barriers that help keep things cozy. Wool is soft, stands up to wear and tear, and insulates well.
5) Adjust the thermostat when you leave
Just like flossing every day or sticking to a strict diet, it can be difficult to find the will to turn down the temperature when you leave your house or go to bed. But if you do, you’ll reap energy savings that will make that little inconvenience worth it. Better yet, install a smart thermostat that will help you more carefully manage your energy use – without putting in any more effort. Program it to heat up the house again just a little before everyone returns home for the day, or when you’re on your way back from a family vacation.
6) Add more insulation
Popping in a little extra insulation in the attic or above an unheated room can help you retain more of that precious heat. Apply duct mastic and fiberglass insulation to the joints of your heat ducts as well.
7) Maintain your fireplace
If you keep your damper open all winter, you may as well open one of your windows for the season. Make sure to only open the dampers when the fireplace is in use. If it’s time to clean out your chimney, hire a professional rather than putting yourself at risk. Lower your thermostat between 50 and 55 degrees and let the fire do its work.
8) Turn down your water heater
Turning down your water heater is a quick, free, energy-saving move. Chances are, you don’t need boiling water when you turn on the hot faucet. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees and you’ll still have comfortably hot water unless several people tend to take showers at once in your household.
9) Use LED holiday lights
The cost of powering traditional incandescent lights can be almost 100 times more than powering LED lights. While this may not make much difference if you only put holiday lights on a couple reindeer in the yard, if you’re lining your yard and your roof and wrapping a tree or two, LED lights can make a big difference in power consumption.
Follow these steps to have an eco-friendly and inviting home this winter!
By Hannah West