There's Still Time to Winterize, Save
Winter is here. You know that. But just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean it is too late to weatherize for the season or use other energy-saving ways to keep money in your pocket while staying warm and comfy.
Here are some tips to help your household and family save a few bucks this winter:
Lower your thermostat. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable, perhaps at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees at night. Every degree above those settings can mean a 3 percent increase in costs.
Seal things up. By sealing up cracks and holes around doors, windows, light fixtures and walls, you can save 10 to 12 percent or more on energy bills. Caulking and weather stripping reduce air leaks.
Keep warm air inside. Anyone with storm windows should make sure they are down and in place. During the day, raise shades and open curtains to let the sunshine in. At night, close shades and curtains.
Replace your furnace filter. Dirt and neglect make things less efficient. Check your furnace’s air filter every month and change it when it’s dirty — or at least every three months or so.
Lay down a rug for more heat. Doing this helps insulate floors and also cuts down on noise.
Keep air vents clear. Be sure to keep supply and return air vents free and clear of furniture, appliances and other items so your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) can work more efficiently.
Don’t heat unnecessary places. Make sure to avoid heating areas in your home that are not insulated, such as a crawl space, attic, garage, mud room or storage shed.
Get a programmable thermostat. Programming a thermostat at a lower temperature at night and when you’re at work or away can save up to 10 percent on bills. Recommendations are to not reduce the temperature by more than six to eight degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn off lights and unplug unused appliances and electronics. Don’t forget to switch off lights when leaving a room. Also, unplug appliances such as extra freezers or refrigerators along with electronics that are no longer used.
Switch to better light bulbs. While they cost more, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are way more energy efficicent than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. On average, an incandescent bulb lasts about 1,000 hours, a fluorescent about 8,000 hours and an LED about 25,000 hours.
Reduce hot water temperatures. Setting the hot water temperature at 120 degrees on your water heater can mean savings of seven to 11 percent. Do likewise with your dishwasher, if you have one.
Use firewood and fireplaces well. When using a wood-burning fireplace or stove, split wood into pieces four to six inches in diameter. Wood burns more cleanly with more surface area exposed to a flame. Also, keep that fireplace or stove damper closed when not in use.