Are you worried about the winter weather impacting your energy bills? During the fall, then many folks look to winterize their homes in New England as they prepare for the winter. It is the winter version of spring cleaning and can really make a difference to your energy costs over time.
At SolvIt, we aim to provide solutions that improve your home over the long term. In addition to exploring an oil to gas conversion, there are some other small and big things to consider as you prepare for winter.
Basic Energy Cost Savings
– Lower the Temperature (& Wear a Sweater)
Just like your parents used to say, “if you’re cold, then put on a sweater.” As Green Living Online points out:
“Turn your thermostat down by two degrees and wear a sweater. It will save you $180 per year on your energy bill.”
Whether you want to turn the temperature down a few degrees when you leave the house or just when you go to bed, any bit helps. Many people enjoy sleeping in a little cooler weather, so reducing the temperature at night makes perfect sense.
Plus, sweaters make a great addition to any wardrobe.
– Clean Your Furnace
Sometimes the easy and simple things really add up over time. Keeping your furnace and vents clean and properly maintained falls in this category. As US News reports, by checking your furnace filter monthly and replacing it when it is dirty, then you can reduce energy consumption and start to save.
– Close the Chimney Damper
If you have a chimney and do not use it during the winter, then remember to close the damper. For some immediate savings, then a closed damper will reduce the amount of hot air that leaves the house.
Unique and Simple Ideas to Save on Your Energy Bills
– Wash Clothes in Cold Water
One great way to cut down on your hot water heater is simply wash your clothes in cold water. If you don’t use hot water, then there is less work for the hot water heater. As an added benefit, cold water helps keep colors from running, plus some detergents are formulated for cold water.
Nest provides a lengthy checklist of ways to cut your bills. The interactive site allows you to check off the tasks as you complete them.
– Use the Ceiling Fan
Although the ceiling fan may seem counterintuitive, remember that hot air rises. In the summer, the ceiling fan works to pull the hot air to the top of the house. Many (if not all) ceiling fans can run counter-clockwise, which pushes the hot air down. The more hot air in the living space, then the warmer the house will feel. The Simple Dollar helps explain:
“Most ceiling fans have a switch you can activate to move it between “summer” mode (counterclockwise, creating a “breeze” underneath it) and “winter” mode (clockwise, producing little noticeable air movement but causing the floor area to gently warm up). Just give it a flip… but remember to flip it back when April rolls around.”
Long Term Investments to Reduce Energy Costs
Beyond additional electrical costs, space heaters are also a fire hazard. As Next Step Living points out:
“With the average kWh hovering around $0.13, using a 1500-watt space heater for five hours a day costs you over $350 extra annually.”
Proper insulation works year round to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer as the savings add up over time. At SolvIt, we work with our customers to provide solutions, so we are pleased to share this feedback from Brandon P.
“As you know, we had insulation added through Solvit earlier this year. The difference has been amazing! This summer we had a number of scorching hot dry days well into the high 80’s. House temps stayed very comfortably in the low to mid 70’s, so no central A/C was required. Last year, A/C would have definitely been used a lot more. The only time A/C was needed was on days when the outside humidity was high, but even then, the A/C did not have to work nearly as hard to keep the house cool. (i.e. the central A/C wasn’t constantly turning on as had been prior to the added insulation).
Great investment! Thanks again!!!”
We all want to spend our money wisely, so think about how insulation works year round.
– Install low-flow showerheads
A low cost home improvement fix is installing low-flow showerheads (and faucets). The reduced flow helps cut down the amount of water, which in turn means less water is heated. As the Consumer Energy Center details these showerheads will help cut your hot water expenses up to 10-15% per year.
As the temperature drops, then the morning showers tend to feel really good. The hot water heater can get a workout. It is important to properly check and maintain your hot water heater throughout the year, but particularly during the winter.
With winter around the corner, now is the time to act and prep your house. There are some great ways, both big and small, to help reduce your energy costs over the winter (and all year long!).