Whether you’re hoping to ease your impact on the planet or just want to save a few dollars, reducing your energy use is a great way to reach these goals. In fact, 10 percent of renters in a recent Rent.com survey said that utilities are their biggest monthly expense, coming in third after monthly rent and groceries.
Heating and cooling your home, especially those in regions with extreme temperature shifts, can be among the more expensive components of your utility bill. Luckily, making some easy adjustments in your home can dramatically reduce how much you spend on energy. Because of this, it is smart to search for ways to reduce energy consumption. Here are some ways you can reduce your energy in your home this winter.
Insulate Your Attic
When looking to reduce your heating bill, you should first look for places where your precious heat may be escaping. One of the places heat escapes the most in houses is the attic. This is not surprising when you remember the principle of heat rising from 4th-grade science class. In fact, 25% of heat loss is due to heat escaping through the attic.
Taking the time to properly insulate your attic can be a lengthy job. It also requires the investment of supplies for the job. However, it can last for years, keeping the warmth in your home and your gas bill low. If you do not have the ability to properly insulate your attic you can still attempt to block the escape of air.
Cover up the attic entry with plastic, pieces of insulation, old blankets, weather stripping or even an old painter drop cloth. Any of it will help to slow, if not stop, the drafts from coming in and warm air from floating away through your roof. As stated before, heat rises and may be getting pulled right up through the attic so you may not notice a cold draft even though your expensive hot air is floating away.
Strategically Turn Down Heat
While turning down your heat may feel like an extremely frugal move, putting it into perspective can help you see its usefulness. If you do not have pets and you know you will not be home for several hours, it can be a good decision to lower your thermostat. Your house will not take long to heat up once you get home. Also, leaving your heater on a high temperature while you are not home is wasteful. You are paying for heat you are not even getting to enjoy.
When you are home and awake, aim to set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Then, when you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 7° to 10° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
Address Drafty Windows
Drafts let out through your windows can result in even more heat loss, about 10% of all heat loss. To check if your windows are a culprit in your wasting of energy first start with a visual inspection. The framing should be connected to the wall completely with no cracks. The same goes for the frame to the window glass. If the entire perimeter of each window and door is not sealed tight against water and air infiltration, then your home is vulnerable to expensive heat loss.
With some windows you can just caulk up the little cracks however, it may be time for some new windows entirely. Many older windows are single paned and lead to even higher amounts of heat radiating out your windows. Look into window replacement cost to see if this is a budget-friendly improvement for your home.
Maintain Your Heating Systems
By properly maintaining your heating systems you can be sure they will work correctly and efficiently during the winter months. Start by keeping your furnace clean and replacing its filter every 3 months. You could also schedule service for your heating systems. They can run do a thorough check of the furnace and clean it so it’s at its prime.
Clean furnaces are also important for the safety of your family. Dirty filters are a fire hazard. A dirty filter also will not do its intended job of collection allergens and dirt particles before you and your family breathe them in. Keeping up on your heating systems help remove the “are they working properly?” guesswork. This can end up saving you from large repairs because you can catch any issues before they get worse.
Keep Hot Water Use Down
With the temperatures outside getting colder, it is normal to want to turn up the heat in your shower or take a relaxing hot bath. However, if you are trying to save on your utilities you should keep this hot water usage down. Your water heater tends to work harder in the winter. Trying its hardest to keep warm in a cold basement, while also keeping up with an increased use of hot water can put a lot of stress on it. This can also lead to your water heater having issues.
It is recommended that you insulate your water heater during the winter, especially if it is located in your garage or basement. You can do this with a water heater blanket. It can help your water heater retain its heat and prevent it from having to work so hard to keep up with your families needs.
No matter what methods you choose to lower your utility bills bare in mind how much good you are doing. Not only for your wallet but for your planet! Using less energy lowers your overall carbon footprint. Keeping our planet healthy and doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping your wallet happy in the process.