Temperatures are dropping, which means it’s time to bust out the fuzzy socks, cozy blankets, and cups of hot cocoa. Unfortunately, it can also mean your heating bill is about to go through the roof. Luckily, you can take action now to increase your home efficiency during the colder months to keep your bills manageable. Here are six tips to make your home more energy-efficient and reduce your energy bills during the coming winter months.
1. Give Your HVAC System a Little TLC
The first tip is to make sure your heating system is running at peak performance. Schedule regular check-ups for your heating system and replace filters. Furnaces and heat pump filters should be replaced once a month or so depending on use.
2. Don’t Set it and Forget it – Pay Attention to your Thermostat!
It might be tempting to set your thermostat to a balmy 75 degrees and forget about it until the spring, but you’ll pay for it (literally) when the bill comes. Keep your thermostat at or below 68 degrees and consider lowering it at night and when you’re not at home. You can reduce your heat costs by up to 10% just by lowering your thermostat for around 8 hours each day. You can also further your energy efficiency by swapping your thermostat out for a programmable one that can automatically adjust your temperature throughout the day.
3. Get Some Sun… From Inside Your House
You can’t beat free heat! Let the sun’s power warm up your home by keeping curtains or shades on your southern-facing windows open during the day. You’d be amazed at how much warmer your rooms will stay when you let the sun shine through them during the day.
4. Downsize the Draft with Plastic Sheeting
Do you feel a draft? Some older windows tend to let the cold air in – which means it takes more heat to keep the room toasty. Use plastic film insulation to cover those drafty windows. You can purchase window insulation kits at most hardware stores. Some of these kits include plastic sheets with adhesive strips, but regular tape will work just fine. Tape them tightly over your window frame to keep the cold air out and the heat in.
5. Deck the Halls for Energy Savings
Is there anything cheerier and brighter than holiday lights strung up inside and out? The only problem is, you’re using an awful lot of energy keeping them lit. Replace your holiday lights this year with energy-efficient LED light strings. You can find LED lights in most stores these days.
6. Invest in a Space Heater
If you spend the majority of your time during the winter cuddled up in your living room, why pay more to heat the whole house? Purchase a portable space heater (or two) for areas you’ll spend the most time in – such as a living room or bedroom. Lower your thermostat and crank up the space heater (but don’t go crazy about it!).
Keeping your energy use at bay in the cold months isn’t impossible. And you don’t have to shiver your way through winter to do it. By taking these precautions, you can cut your energy bills, reduce drafts and cold spots, and become more energy efficient.