7 tips to reduce your home heating costs during winter
Your wallet will thank you for reading up on these quick and simple energy efficiency tips.
Winter weather in Kentucky can be unpredictable. It might be in the 50s one day and in the 20s the next. While we can’t control the effects of Mother Nature, we can help you stay safe and warm when chilly weather inevitably blows through. The following tips may help you reduce energy consumption and even reduce your home heating costs.
- Lower the temperature: Grab a blanket and bundle up! Keeping your thermostat just a few degrees cooler during the winter could lower your energy bill. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% per year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat down 7°–10°F for 8 hours a day in fall and winter.
- Consider a smart thermostat: While you don’t need a smart (or programmable) thermostat to make cost-saving changes, having one does help maximize efficiency. With a smart thermostat, you can establish a schedule that automatically adjusts to energy-saving temperatures when you are asleep or away, control your home’s temperature remotely through your smartphone or tablet, and track and manage your energy usage by logging data.
- Isolate your energy: If you’re primarily hanging out in one room, consider a space heater, which is an effective, efficient way to keep you comfortable without wasting energy on the entire house. That said, be mindful that space heaters can pose a great risk of fire and electrical shock if used improperly. Click here for a Life’s Blueprints blog regarding the safe use of electronic space heaters.
- Run your ceiling fans clockwise: Set ceiling fans to run clockwise on low speed in the winter to circulate heat more efficiently. This creates an updraft that helps move warm air near the ceiling back out and around the room.
- Maintain your HVAC: If your HVAC system is not properly maintained, it will have to work harder to heat and cool your home. A simple way to keep your HVAC operating efficiently is to stay on top of filter changes. Depending on the type of filter you buy, you will need to change it at least once every three months (or more often, depending on variables such as pets, family size, and other conditions).
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, it’s also important to have a certified HVAC or furnace technician service your unit at least once a year. They will ensure that your system is clog-free and geared up for optimal performance.
- Use curtains and blinds to your advantage: During the day, open curtains and blinds to allow warm sun to infiltrate your home and naturally heat it. On the flipside, make sure to close your curtains and blinds when the sun goes down to prevent cold chills from sneaking in. Consider purchasing insulated curtains to maximize the energy efficiency of your windows. Safety tip: Make sure that blinds or curtains are not blocking any warm air registers!
- Seal, plug, or insulate: Energy Star estimates that if you added up all the leaks, holes, and gaps in a typical home, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year! That’s a lot of energy and utility costs going, well… right out the window!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by sealing their home. An easy, DIY fix is to inspect windows and doors for any obvious leaks or drafts, and seal those with weather stripping or caulking. The attic is one of the largest opportunities to save energy at home, so a bigger job to tackle might include sealing leaks and adding insulation in your attic. Click here for easy-to-digest information regarding attic air sealing and attic insulation.
These 7 quick and easy tips are not comprehensive, but they may help shoulder the blow of cold winter weather. Happy heating, Kentucky!
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