Save money and remain cozy throughout winter by acting now before the bitter cold arrives.
Dodge the Draft
The draft snack, adopted during the Great Depression era, is one of the easiest ways to cut back on energy waste.
A draft snake can be easily made by rolling up a towel or filling up a pouch of fabric with kitty litter or sand, or you can buy one that is pre-made.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30% of energy use per year.
Wrap your Windows
For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware or discount sore. Properly installed window plastic is essentially invisible and adding buffer against drafts and extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.
Caulk any Gaps
Simple leaks can sap a home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping. Take a look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit, and along the foundation.
Use the candle test: carefully (avoid drapes and other flammables) move a lit candle along walls. Where the smoke/flame wavers, you have air sneaking in,a nd heating or cooling sneaking out.
Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans
If you have any ceiling fans inside your home, know the rules: counter-clockwise rotation produces cooling breezes and clockwise rotation produces warmer air.
Install Storm Doors
The cracks in your door are increasing the air flow in and out of your home. Installing a storm door can help seal those drafts and reduce air flow.
Control Your Thermostat
We all want our home to be warm and keeping the thermostat high seems like the only option, but then your wallet suffers from the high energy bill.
For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Make it even easier with a programmable thermostat.
Pile up on Insulation
Heat is rising right out of your home, so loading up on insulation is one of the best ways to save your energy bill. Add more between your walls, attic floor, and basement ceiling to help stay toasty.
An insulated home can lose a quarter of its heat through the roof.
Get Rid of that Window A/C Unit
During winter, you most likely won’t be using your window A/C unit so remove it from your window or purchase a quality tarp to cover the outside of the unit.
Turn Off Your A/C Water Valve
Shut off your A/C water valve to prevent excess water from collecting in the equipment. Drain all air conditioning pipes, doing this during the winter could save you from having to buy a new A/C unit next summer.
Lower Your Water Heater’s Temperature
Conventional water heaters are typically set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but most households only need a setting of 120 degrees to be comfortable. Lowering it by 20 degrees will save about 6 to 10% on your bill.
Change Furnace Filters
It’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month (especially during heating season). Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.
Give Your Heating System a Tune-Up
Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5% of heating cost. The good news is many utilities will offer free annual checkups but you have to call early, as HVAC crews get backed up one heating season starts.
Put on a Sweater
Remember that each degree on the thermostat is costing you money? Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4 degrees. So cozy up and start saving.
Insulate Your Pipes
Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation.
You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape.