While we may be in the middle of a little January thaw, the cold will be back. Here are some great energy saving tips from our guest blogger David Glenn.
If you have ever lived in a cold climate you understand the dread of waking up to a freezing house and having to dash across the cold floor to the thermostat. Then, you wait for heat to run until you can even consider taking a shower or going about your day. Meanwhile, your energy bill is getting higher and higher, but what can you do? There are many ways to save money on heating during the winter—you likely all ready implement a few ideas, such as using fleece fabric blankets or clothing in order to keep warm at night or starting a fire if you have a fireplace in your home. However, many people neglect other small ways that will save them a large amount of money.
Set the thermostat back at night
Though this tip falls under a “common sense” category, a surprising number of people fail to do this, or simply don’t think that it matters. Setting your thermostat lower when you are not home or are in bed can save up to 15% off of your heating bill.
Change your furnace filter regularly
Remembering to change your filter every month or so can often get forgotten in our busy lives, but this small step can greatly increase your heater’s efficiency as well as reduce air born allergies.
Have your furnace tuned up
Having your furnace cleaned helps the system operate safely and efficiently, and may even be required under some home warranties or home owners insurance. When your heater is serviced it may involve resetting the fuel-air mixture for the right combustion, or fixing the blowers.
Let in the sun
During the dreary winter months it can be easy to remember the sun is still shining and does still bring in warmth. Try to open your curtains or blinds whenever possible to take advantage of the free, natural heat. (Don’t forget to close them before the sun disappears to avoid losing all that you’ve gained!)
Weatherstrip windows and doors
Weatherstripping is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware and even some discount stores. Sealing gaps in your home around your windows and doors can make you much more comfortable during the cold and hot months and save you money on your utility bills. If you have large gaps underneath your doors, you can also purchase door sweeps that provide a larger deterrent to cold air. In addition to this, consider shutting off unused rooms that are allowing cold air into your main living area (for instance, an empty guest room or unused bathroom). Though some people do not like to do this because it makes their living area feel smaller, this is an effortless way to help keep you warmer.
Minimize your use of vents
If your kitchen or bathroom vents bring in fresh air, try not to use them more than necessary, and possibly not at all. Air is naturally dryer during the winter and if you exchange your home’s air with the frigid incoming air, you may be doing little more than expending more energy rather than preventing dampness in your home.
Invest in a water heater blanket
If your water heater is older, it may not be insulated properly. A water heater blanket or jacket can save energy costs, however, be careful that you do not cover the thermostat and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Reduce hot water useage
Consider doing more loads of laundry on the “cold” cycle and setting back the thermostat on your water heater to about 120 degrees. Most people have their hot water set unnecessarily high; if you cannot put your hand under a stream of water turned to “hot” in your home, your water heater is set too high and is costing you money.
David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He freelance writes about home maintenance and DIY home repair. He’s also knowledgeable about topics like how to improve social presence and building a reputation online.