Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Tips to Save Money This Winter – Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

With winter coming, most homeowners typically experience higher energy costs. This obviously hinges on the fact that we use more natural gas to heat our homes, and the fact that days are shorter, so we spend more time inside, and while we're inside we're using electricity, watching TV, surfing the internet, etc. Here are ten tips that will help you to save money on your energy costs this winter – 5 of the tips are simple, and can go a long way, the other 5 will require a bit of an investment to start, but will pay off big over time.

5 Simple Tips to Save Money on Energy
  1. Minimize the electricity usage – grab a book! As days in the winter are shorter than days in the summer, we tend to spend more time inside. During this time, make sure that lights are only turned on in rooms that people are in, and rather than turning on the TV, or browsing the internet, grab a book.
  2. Run ceiling fans in reverse. If you have a ceiling fan, look for a switch on the base of it and select the reverse option. Running ceiling fans in reverse will help circulate the warmer air that gathers at ceiling level back down toward your living space.
  3. Don't turn that heater on! Look for other ways to stay warm while inside, if you have a fireplace, start a fire. If you don't have a fireplace, grab a blanket and cozy up on the couch, or grab a sweater.
  4. Stop any cool air drafts. If your windows and doors aren't properly sealed, you can be wasting tons of energy on cooling costs, as your heater pumps away, it is being directly offset by cool air leaking in from underneath doors and around poorly sealed windows. Place weather stripping or rolled up towels at the base of doors, and make sure all windows are properly caulked and sealed.
  5. Turn down your water heater. Many water heaters are set to about 140 F by installers, try lowering this 10 degrees, if you don't notice a difference, try lowering it 10 more. Dropping your water heater from 140 down to 120 can help save 5-10% on heating costs.

5 Timely/Costly Tips to Save Money on Energy
  1. Install Energy Star appliances. Though costly up front, Energy Star appliances can save you from 10-20% on your energy costs.
  2. Install storm doors and dual pane windows. Storm doors are thickly insulated and help keep cool air out and warm air in, likewise, dual pane windows will do the same thing.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can guarantee yourself that you won't forget to turn the heater off. You can set it to 60 degrees from 8am to 6pm (while you're at work). That way, you have a little piece of mind that you didn't leave the heater on while you're at the office.
  4. Re-insulate, and/or add additional insulation in walls and attic. If you've done all of the above and your house still doesn't seem to hold heat, then your house may be improperly insulated. Installing new insulation in the walls and attic can help your house retain heat and save you money on heating costs.
  5. Seal your air ducts. Make sure that all of the ducts that deliver air from your furnace are properly sealed. Any air escaping the ducts will be lost, thus increasing your energy costs.
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