Saving Energy – Tips to Lower Your Monthly Costs In Winter Months
The past few years have found all of us looking at rising energy costs which seem to have been multiplied by the slow economy. Whether you are thinking about ways to “go green” or you simply want to lower your monthly out of pocket energy costs, we’ve compiled some tips to help you out. This is the second in a series of articles on lowering your monthly energy costs.
Obviously the largest energy cost we have in the winter time is heating our home. Here are a few tips to lower those heating costs.
Tip 1: Lower your thermostat setting. This is the single best thing you can do to lower the cost of heating your home. Dropping the temperature just a few degrees can easily cut your heater’s operating time dramatically. You’re thinking right now, “but I don’t like to feel cold”. So here are several tips to make you feel warmer even though the house temperature is lower.
- Wear more clothing. When you are at home wear sweats or sweaters. You could even consider wearing long johns under your clothing, even in doors. It makes a huge difference in how warm the home feels to you.
- Use space heaters in the rooms where you are the most. Let the heaters warm the rooms where you are at and let the rest of the house cool down with the thermostat. If you never go into your bedroom during the hours of 8am till 5pm then why does it need to stay warm? Only warm the room you are in.
- Wear socks and slippers. It’s very true that if your feet are cold the rest of you will feel cold.
- Use an electric blanket at night. If you are asleep from 11pm till 6am, why does the kitchen need to be warm? Turn the thermostat down so the rest of the house is cooler, saving energy, and use the blanket to keep you toasty warm as you sleep. An electric blanket uses much less energy than your home heating unit.
- Place area rugs in the rooms that have hard surface floors. This not only helps to retain heat but it also helps to feel warmer as you walk so that you once again have the feeling of being warmer.
Tip 2: Check for window and door leaks and install new weather stripping where needed. Some say to hold a lit match in front of a window or door to see if drafts come in and blow the flame. We suggest using a lightweight feather instead. A very small lightweight feather will move in a slight draft just as well as a lit match, and it’s much safer. Not to mention you’ll save the cost of burning through a book of matches.
Tip 3: If you are in an older home you may want to consider replacing your windows with new energy efficient ones. We’ll discuss this more in a later article, but energy efficient windows will make a huge difference in your heating costs. Double pane windows with Low E coating help to retain the heat that is in the room at the same time that they block out the cold on the outside. If you place a thermometer on the inside of a standard window it will read somewhere between the inside and outside temperatures. But if you place a thermometer on the inside of an energy efficient window it will read the same as the inside of the house, or at least within 1 or 2 degrees. The most efficient windows built today have the ability to insulate your home just as much as your walls do.
Tip 4: Go around the exterior of your home and fill in cracks with caulk. Anywhere that two different surfaces meet such as bricks to wood, need to be sealed up. If cold wind is allowed to enter these cracks it dramatically reduces the efficiency of the insulation inside your walls.
Tip 5: Decrease the time that your pool filter system runs throughout the day. In most cases you are not using your pool during the winter, so why does it need to run all day? You will notice that your pool maintenance person is putting very few chemicals in the pool during the winter. This is because the micro-organisms don’t grow as well in cold water as they do in warm water. Therefore your pool will stay cleaner looking in the winter anyway. So only let the filter system run a few hours per day; just enough to turn the water over a few times and keep it fresh.
Tip 6: Insure that your attic has adequate insulation. This is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to increase the overall insulation factor of your home. Have a professional come out to measure and evaluate the insulation and give you pricing on increasing it if needed.
Tip 7: Use door sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors. Place your hand on the floor next to the bottom of all exterior doors, or use that feather we talked about before, and determine if there is a cold draft entering under the door. If so, install a door sweep to block that cold air from entering your home. There are many types and models of door sweeps on the market; many of which are very inexpensive and can be found at any local hardware store.
We cannot go without saying in any article about saving energy that the best way to save energy is to create your own. It’s actually easier than it may seem. You can find many websites on the net that offer guides to building your own solar panels and wind turbines which you can use to power your home.
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Many people are completely powering their own homes and even selling electricity back to the power companies. This is probably one of the best ways to “go green” and save money around your home. Please visit this link to view all of our articles in this series of saving energy.