Often, people are looking for ways to cut costs throughout the year. When it comes to one’s energy bill, winter can be particularly harsh as people attempt to stay warm and comfortable. Unlike the summer, when air conditioners are the culprit when it comes to inflated energy bills, families typically turn to their furnace and heating systems to keep warm in the winter. In addition, there are other problems around the house that may also contribute to the rising cost of staying warm. Knowing what changes to make and what problems to look for can make all the difference in how much money is spent on meeting one’s energy needs.
Seal Drafts Around the House
Drafts are a problem in the winter and can end up costing home owners a significant amount of money if left as-is. A draft indicates that warm indoor air is leaking from the home, while cold outdoor air is coming in. This costs homeowners money as they usually turn up their heaters to compensate and the heaters are working harder to keep the home warm and comfortable. The first step to getting rid of a drafty problem is to check where they are coming from. A person should check around doors and windows for potential leaks using a detector. Ducts and areas where there are pipes or vents are additional areas to look for gaps, cracks and leaks. An energy audit scheduled via the utility company is one of the most accurate ways to locate leaks or other problems that could be allowing drafts of air into and out of the house. The audit may take as long as three hours and the homeowners are given a report that outlines any areas of heat loss and how they may be repaired.
One simple and fast way to save energy and make a room feel warmer during the winter is to hang the right kind of curtains in the windows and use them properly. Thicker curtains, energy-efficient curtains, or quilted curtains, are a smart choice for colder months and they can help block drafty windows to make a room feel warmer. The curtains should be floor length to be of maximum benefit. They also should be used properly and in a way that helps heat the room. To do that, open the curtains on sunny winter days to allow the warmth of the sun inside. At night, close the curtains to trap indoor heat and prevent it from leaking out.
Adjust the Thermostat and Water Heater
Properly set furnace and water heater thermostats will both impact how much homeowners can save on their electric bills. For the water heater, it is important that the water temperature is set low enough that it uses less energy, but high enough to heat the water for use. Typically, the ideal setting for one’s water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to the heating and cooling system, one should purchase a programmable thermostat that will turn on and off so that the temperature is maintained at a preset, comfortable temperature. During the cold months, the temperature should be set for between 66 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When away from the home, whether at work or on vacation, people should turn off the thermostat.
Keep Vents Unobstructed
Move furniture away from the heating vents to that they are not blocked. Even curtains and rugs should not be allowed to hinder the flow of warm air. Using a vacuum cleaner, clean the vents regularly so that they may work properly. Closing vents in unused rooms may or may not prove beneficial depending on the type of heating and cooling system that is in the home. According to the EPA, people living in homes that have central heating and cooling may benefit from this action as closing vents, doors, and registers to unused rooms will direct the heated air to rooms that are used instead. Certain high-performance systems however, may work less efficiently.
Install Energy Efficient Windows and Add Solar Panels to the Home
Solar panels can contribute greatly when it comes to keeping homes warm without using traditional heating methods. Solar panels provide a renewable energy source in that they convert the sun’s rays into energy. Using solar panels reduces the homeowner’s dependency on traditional, non-renewable energy. Additionally, solar panels are also better for the environment. Changing one’s windows may prove an initially less expensive option than adding solar panels to the outside of one’s home. They may also be used in addition to solar panels to maximize the energy savings. High-efficiency windows will save energy and reduces the cost of heating one’s home by up to fifteen percent.
- Winter Storms & Extreme Cold: This is the Red Cross guide on how to be prepared for winter storms.
- Winter Energy Saving and Safety: This is a PDF that provide energy-saving tips and energy safety tips for the home.
- Top Ten Tips to Save Energy and Money in the Winter: Energy.gov lists ten tips on how homeowners can save money and energy in the winter.
- Reduce Your Winter Energy Bills: Click on this link to learn ways to reduce the wintertime energy bill. Readers may scroll down the page, or click on a specific category, such as “Furnace.”
- Prepare for Winter and Cut Your Energy Bills by 75 Percent: Review this link for ways to cut back on energy usage and potentially save as much as seventy-five percent on the energy bill. Categories of interest include windows, leaks, and insulation.
- Things to do Now to Winterize Your Home: Review this numbered list of nineteen tasks that can reduce one’s winter energy bill. Tips range from tuning up the heating system to opening curtains or drapes in during the day.
- Simple Steps to Lower my Energy Bills: This is a page of energy-saving advice and tips. Advice on this website is separated into categories.
- Reducing Energy Use: The EPA page on reducing energy use. Readers are given ways to improve on their home’s energy efficiency during the winter and summer.
- One Hundred Ways to Save Energy at Home: On this page there is a list of collapsible categories on how to save energy in the home. Readers can click on the desired link for further information. In addition to winter energy-saving advice, readers are given advice for summer as well.
- Nine Home Energy Conservation Tips for the Winter: The website for Family Handyman magazine offers a listing of tips with pictures on how to reduce energy costs and stay warm during the winter.
- Natural Gas Conservation Tips: On this page readers are given tips on keeping warm during the winter as well as tips on conserving natural gas. The tips are listed in numbered format at the center of the page.
- Saving Energy with Curtains: This article from The Nest discusses the ways to use curtains to help save energy. It covers the type of curtains to use and how to use them during the day and at night.
- Energy Conservation Tips: Energy Conservation tips are listed by category on this website for Wake Forest. A chart with monthly savings per reduced energy amount is also included on the page.
- Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money This Winter: On this page readers are given information on how to save money on their energy bill during the winter. Some of the information at the top of the document is exclusively for people living in Pennsylvania, however, other tips are basic energy savings.
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