It’s a routine you’re all too familiar with: The days get shorter and colder, and you find yourself shelling out extra cash to keep your home warm until spring. For many people, staying warm through the winter is synonymous with higher energy bills. However, there are ways to keep warm while keeping money in your pocket.
Use these tips to cut down your winter energy bills:
1. Lower the temperature
This is the easiest and most obvious way to cut down your heat usage. Reduce the temperature by 2 degrees, and wear a sweater to make up for the difference. Studies show this can save about $180 for the year. At night, you can reduce the temperature further and take advantage of the fact that you’ll be bundled up under covers.
2. Clean your filters
Make sure to clean or replace your furnace’s filter every two months for maximum efficiency. Studies show a clean filter can improve efficiency by 50 percent.
3. Insulate your windows
Check around each of your windows for cracks between the window and the wall. If you find any areas that let cold air get through, fill the cracks with caulk. This makes your heat more efficient by cutting down how much of it escapes. You might even consider investing in new windows. Installing double-paned windows takes money, but the windows will pay for themselves over time by better insulating your home.
4. Open the curtains
Take advantage of natural light and heat during the day. Keeping your curtains open lets the sun do some of the work for you and help heat your home.
5. Take shorter, cooler showers
While a long, hot shower may feel good on chilly mornings, avoiding the temptation can save you cash. If a cooler morning shower doesn’t sound bearable to you, consider showering in the evenings, when you’ll be fully awake.
6. Insulate your water heater
The water heater shouldn’t be heating the whole room. Make sure it’s properly insulated to avoid energy loss.
7. Re-insulate your attic
Since heat rises, you could be losing a lot of money because of a poorly insulated attic. CNN estimates that professional re-insulating with a product like GreenFiber will cost about $3,000 to $6,000, or about $1,000 to $2,000 if you do it yourself. With a tax credit of up to $1,500 for greening your home, the overall cost is manageable for most families. Studies estimate the job will save you $660 each year, meaning it’ll pay for itself within a few years.
8. Keep doors closed
This isn’t just for doors leading outside. Close the doors on any rooms you use rarely, as well as any heating vents in the rooms. That way you won’t use energy heating extra rooms.
9. Utilize your oven
Leave the oven door open after you cook or bake. As the oven cools, its excess heat will be put to good use warming your kitchen area.
10. Make the holidays a little greener
Use LED (light-emitting diodes) lights rather than traditional holiday lights when decorating your tree and home. While they’re a bit costlier, they’re up to 90 percent more energy efficient and can pay for themselves over the years.
With an energy-efficient home, you can stay warm throughout the winter while knowing it won’t drain your bank account. Utilize any or all of these tips for instant and long-term savings.