We all dread winter weather for the cold temperatures and the inconvenience of piles of snow. But did you know that, as a homeowner, you may be wasting a ton of money on heating and energy bills, just to have the heat escape outdoors? According to the Department of Energy, just water heating (through your boiler or furnace) accounts for up to 18% of the energy used in most homes, so finding ways to cut back on energy and save money during peak heating season will make a big difference in your budget.
Did you know that, by turning the thermostat down a few degrees for at least 8 hours a day, you can save 5-15% on home energy costs year round? A programmable thermostat lets you set that cooler period for when you won’t be home or you’re sleeping, so you can save money without a second thought.
HVAC Tune up
If your heating system didn’t get a tune up at the beginning of the season, it might be worth it to call a professional to make sure your HVAC system is up to snuff. This might mean changing the filters or performing some other quick maintenance, but it’s definitely worth it to take care of before you need major fixes.
Especially if you have old windows, you can lose a lot of heat to the outdoors, even if the window is completely closed. However there are some solutions, like the 3M Indoor Window Insulator Kit, that allow you to add an extra, discreet layer of insulation that’ll save you money all winter.
Hot Water Heater
Old hot water heaters are easy targets for saving money on energy costs: not only can you turn the temperature down to about 120 degrees, which will save you money and prevent scalding in the shower, but simply investing in a hot water heater blanket like the UltraTouch will cost you less than $30 and can save you tons. Old pipes are the same, and can and should be insulated too.
Check the Fireplace
Sitting beside a roaring fire with hot cocoa might sound like a winter dream come true, but if you’re not careful to close the damper when you’re not using the fireplace, you can lose up to 8% of the heated air, which means your heater has to work extra hard.
Year Round Tips
You might have a sense that money is wasted heating a house with leaks, but did you know there are ways to save money throughout the rest of the year too? Here are some tips you can implement this winter that will help you save money on energy bills during the cooler months but also the warmer months, as well.
- Use Power Strips: These are especially good for electronics, since TVs, media players, and the like are always on, waiting for a signal from the remote. Use a power strip to turn them on only when you need them.
- Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances: Energy efficient appliances are an investment that’s absolutely worth it. Look for Energy Star certified appliances.
- Check Your Fans: Ceiling fans can help keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as long as they’re rotating the right direction. Make sure it’s going clockwise in the winter; switch it over to counterclockwise for summer.