15 Quick and Affordable Energy Fixes to Save You Money this Winter
With Fall comes cooler temperatures and the available daylight gets shorter and shorter. With these changes many home owners start thinking about energy bill increases during the winter. Whether you’re using natural gas, electricity, or oil, there are several ways to reduce the amount you’ll need to keep your home comfortable during those long, cold months. Conveniently, many of these fixes are easy to do and very affordable; sometimes even free. As a bonus, you’re also reducing your environmental impact at the same time. Let’s start off with some free fixes you can do today and then look at other low cost methods for making your home more efficient and comfortable.
FREE ENERGY FIXES
Adjust your water heater temperature. The widely recommended temperature is 120F. This provides enough heat to kill off or prevent bacteria growth while also preventing scalding. Dropping your water heater temp by 10F can reduce energy use 3-5%.
Adjust your air vents for seasonal needs. Forced air furnace systems need to balance airflow in the system and deliver air where you need it most. Get to know your heating system and adjust the ducts and vents according to your home’s needs. Close vents in little used rooms to save even more.
Clean your heating radiators. Vacuum out the dust and cobwebs that have accumulated over the summer so air can flow freely.
Use curtains and blinds to your advantage. Simply opening or closing your blinds can make a big difference in your energy bills. Let the sunshine in on cold days then close up those heavy curtains to retain heat at night.
Set your ceiling fan pull heat down from the ceiling in the winter and pull up cooler air from perimeter vents or low windows in the summer. This will mix the air and allow your furnace or AC to work more effectively.
Turn down your thermostat during the night and/or when not at home for extended periods. Dropping the temperature 10-15 degrees can save 5-15% depending on the efficiency of your heating system and insulation.
Use less water to cut your water bill and reduce water heater run times. Little changes can add up quickly, for exmaple turning off the water while soaping up can save up to 2 gallons per shower.
Turn off lights that are not needed to save electricity during those long, dark winter days.
Close your fireplace flue when not in use so the air you’re heating isn’t flowing right out the chimney.
AFFORDABLE ENERGY FIXES
Have your furnace or boiler inspected annually to make sure it is clean and running properly. Change your furnace filter monthly or as needed for efficient airflow. Seal furnace ducts to prevent leaks.
Install a programmable thermostat to maximize savings by automatically lowering the temperature during the night or while you are gone for long periods.
Insulate hot water pipes with self-sealing foam tubes to prevent heat loss and keep water warm while not in use. If you have an older and less efficient water heater, wrap it with a tank insulation blanket.
Check for air leaks around outer doors, attic entrance, and windows. Seal if needed with new gaskets or window film. Garage doors should have seals at the bottom and sides to help keep cold air out. Seal electrical outlets with foam gaskets.
Install low flow shower heads to save at least a gallon per minute. Time your showers to see just how quickly that adds up.
Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL) when they burn out. CFL prices are coming down and they use a fraction of the electricity of an incandescent while lasting longer too. Change out light bulbs which are frequently used to start saving right away.
Have any of your own tips for making a home more energy efficient and reducing bills? Feel free to post them below of share on social media.