8 Tips to Saving Money and Energy This Winter
The winter season is approaching and with it comes the frigid weather. This cold weather brings not just snow and large coats but increased heating costs. Having a home that isn’t properly regulated for the winter can cost a homeowner thousands of extra dollars every year.
These energy costs can also harm the environment as it increases your carbon footprint. In order to save you money this year and help the environment, we have created a list of 8 tips to save you energy this winter.
Tip #1: Maximize Airflow
Having good airflow isn’t just for the summer – better ventilation will in fact help circulate the warm air to colder locations. When the heat is on, make sure to have the vents open and pointed in the correct directions. Having a vent that is pointed toward a wall or straight down isn’t doing you any good.
Try to have them aimed at a downward angle toward the center of the room for maximum movement. If you have any ceiling fans you might have the option of turning them to the reverse section. Having your fan rotated clockwise will help keep warm air downwards in the winter months.
Tip #2: Adjust the Thermostat
One of the best ways to reduce your energy bill is to make sure the thermostat is set at the right temperature at the right times. If you’re in the home, try to set your temperature at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. At times when people are going to be asleep or away, then it’s best to set it all the way down to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeping track of this can be a little time consuming, so think about investing in a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust based on your settings. Many of the new thermostats follow a set schedule or have WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities so you can control the temperature from your phone or another smart device.
Tip #3: Heat Up the Rooms You Use
If you’re not using the room, what’s the point of keeping it warm? Large storage areas and guest rooms don’t need to be warmed up if you can help it. Cut off the vents to these areas so you’re not heating them and instead increasing airflow to the spots that need it.
If you find that you spend the majority of your time in a single area you can take this step a little bit further and turn the thermostat down to 62 degrees Fahrenheit and use a space heater for that direct spot. While the immediate benefit for this might not be obvious, you can save up to $200 a year by following this strategy.
Tip #4: Clean Out the Furnace and Vents
Take some time every three months and clean or replace your furnace filter. Replacement filters are available at most hardware stores, but if you can clean it out it’s good to do it at least a couple of times. In order to clean out your filter, first cut the power to the furnace and remove it.
The direction of the airflow should be properly marked and noted in some way – putting a filter in the wrong way will defeat the purpose of cleaning it out in the first place! If it has a plastic rim, it’s most likely reusable. Simply take it outside and wash it with a low-pressure nozzle – no special cleaners are required.
Make sure all particles, like dust and dirt, are properly washed out. After the filter has been thoroughly cleaned just let it dry and reinsert it back into the machine.
Tip #5: Insulation is Your Friend
Having poor or little insulation can make your home like a house of sticks, with a simple chilly breeze blowing away all that heat! To check your exterior walls, simply put your hand on it. If it’s cool to the touch that means there isn’t enough insulation in that spot.
One of the largest areas of heat loss can be found through the attic. Since heat rises, it will find any and all weak spots in the insulation of the ceiling to drain away that precious energy. Gaps in your windows, doors, and garage can cost additional dollars for you as well. Weatherstripping should be checked at least once a year and replaced as needed.
Tip #6: Purchase LED Lights
LED lights have been proven time and time again to reduce overall energy output. It consumes as little as a quarter of the energy of traditional bulbs while lasting almost 25 times longer. It makes sense to spend a little extra on LED lights rather than getting the traditional bulbs.
If you’re the type of person to celebrate the holidays by decorating, definitely consider investing in LED string lights. Like their normal light-bulb cousins, LED string lights last much longer while also costing considerably less.
Tip #7: Use the Fireplace
Whether it’s gas, wood or electric, a fireplace isn’t just for looks! Use them to your full advantage by getting them started during the coldest parts of the day. If you use a wood fireplace make sure the wood is sufficiently dried out so the smoke is hot enough to leave the house.
In order to ensure proper functioning, maximize heat output, and safety, it takes some time to properly maintain everything. This means to clean out the chimney and have it checked by a certified chimney sweep at least once a year. If you’re using gas or electric, make sure that all the mechanisms are working properly and wiped down from time to time.
Tip #8: Take Advantage of the Sun
All life relies on the heat of the sun – without it the Earth would be a frozen waste. Why not take advantage of that huge ball of nuclear fire in the sky? There is little sunlight during the winter seasons so make sure to keep in mind the most opportune times to grab all the UV rays you can.
Spend some time opening up the sun-facing windows. If you’re in the northern hemisphere this will be in the south for you. Be wary when sunset actually is – when the sun starts to go down make sure to pull your drapes back to keep all that heat inside.
Saving money and energy this winter season only takes a little bit of mindfulness and action on your part. Make sure to spend some time maximizing the airflow of your home – this means adjusting all the vents to effectively heat the rooms that you want while cutting off those that you don’t.
Investing in new technology devices, like smart thermostats and LED light bulbs, will cut back even more. Things like furnace filters should be properly cleaned once a season while a fireplace should be used to take some of the pressure off of your HVAC. Overall, none of these methods are good if you don’t have your home properly insulated.
Be Efficient This Winter
Are you already spending too much money on your heating bills? To ensure you stay warm this winter, make sure your windows, siding, and doors are well insulated and energy efficient. This is the key to saving money this winter. If you think it’s time for replacement windows, siding or doors, Feldco can help.
Not only does Feldco provide these products, but they have trained professionals who will install them for you. Talk to a product specialist and get a free quote today.