How to Save Money and Energy This Winter
Nancy Cullen, the Granola Gran
When the temperatures start to drop, your home heating needs will quickly rise. As a result, your energy usage and costs rise too. However, it’s possible to keep your home warm without using so much energy. Follow these helpful tips to save both money and energy this winter.
Lower Your Thermostat
According to the Department of Energy, by setting your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower than normal for eight hours a day, you can save up to 15 percent a year on your heating bill. Use a programmable thermostat and set it at 68 degrees in the daytime when you are at home, and much lower when you are at work or away. Also, program it to drop down to about 62 degrees an hour after your bedtime. You’ll be asleep, cozy under the covers, and won’t even notice.
Locate and seal your leaks
According to House Logic, you’ll typically spend around $350 every year on air that leaks out of the house through gaps and cracks. You can conserve energy and save money by sealing as many air leaks in your home as you can find. Use caulking or weather stripping around doors, windows, electrical conduits, attic access doors, and other places in your home where you find gaps. Also, install aluminum flashing to seal gaps around chimneys and flues as well. If you locate larger gaps, talk to the staff at stores like Lowes for sealing solutions. Lowes is a great place to buy caulking, flashing, and everything else you need for DIY, energy-saving home improvement projects. Before you go to Lowes, search online for ways to save such as the Deal of the Day, sale merchandise, promo codes, and cashback offers.
Cover Your Old, Drafty Windows
Even after sealing gaps around old windows, you might find they are still drafty. Use heavy drapes or other window coverings in the winter to keep the drafts out of your home as much as possible. When it’s sunny, open up curtains to allow the sunlight to naturally heat your home.
Add More Insulation to Your Attic
According to EnergyStar.gov, most attics should have at least R-38 insulation, which is 10 to 14 inches deep. However, most homes don't have enough insulation on the attic floor, so heated air in the home tends to escape into the attic. Add more insulation if necessary to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know your ceiling fan blades can rotate in both directions? When they are rotating counter-clockwise, they push cool air downward. When they are in a clockwise mode, they draw cool air upward and push warmer air back down. Therefore, in the winter, you should make sure to flip the setting clockwise to help distribute warm air and reduce your heating needs.
Open Your Oven Door
After you’re done cooking, the excess heat left in the oven is extracted by the fan and pushed outside. In the winter, you should open your oven door as soon as you are done cooking and allow that excess heat to enter your home. This is a free and efficient way to add a little extra heat to your house so you don’t have to run your heater as long. You should not, however, leave your oven door open while the appliance is on to heat your home as this can be dangerous.
You want to keep your home and family warm in the winter, but you also don’t want to spend a bundle to do it. Thankfully, by making some simple changes in your house, you can stay cozy all winter long and save money on your energy bills, too.
Photo via Unsplash
Additional resources: For a comprehensive guide on 10 draft stopper ideas to keep your home warm in the winter: https://happydiyhome.com/draft-stopper/