Often people will tell you that you can save energy and cut costs by keeping a close watch on your use of appliances. While this is true, your heating and cooling can actually account for around 70% of your yearly energy costs. If you want to save money on your winter energy bills, the key is lowering your heating costs. This can happen through a number of ways, such as better insulation or even adding solar panels to your roof. With that in mind, here are five things you can do to reduce your energy bill this winter.
Make These Easy Fixes
One thing you can do during the winter months is dress warmly while at home. Sometimes, all you need to do is wear pants and a sweater or throw on a blanket to warm yourself up, so you won’t need to turn on your heater. Ingesting warm foods and drinks, like soup and hot chocolate, can also do the trick.
Adjust the Temperatures of Some Appliances
Two appliances that require your immediate attention are your water heater and thermostat. For safety purposes, it is recommended that you set the temperature for most water heaters at 120°F; however, doing so also conserves energy. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 68°F during waking hours in the winter and lowering your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees when you are away or asleep. Doing this can save you up to 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Insulate Certain Areas and Appliances
One area of your home that should be well-insulated is your attic. Since hot air rises, it can escape through a drafty attic. Insulate this area in order to keep warm air in your home and lessen your heating costs.
You might also want to insulate your water pipes. Doing so prevents the pipes from freezing during the cold weather months.
If you feel a draft through your electrical outlets, you might want to insulate these, too. To do so, you can purchase foam gaskets, which go behind and around the sockets.
Seal Certain Areas
Insulation will do little to help cut down on your heating costs if there are still leaks within your home. Two immediate problem areas are likely around your doors and windows. Caulk areas that are stationary, like your door and window seals, while weatherstripping areas that move, like the doors and windows themselves.
Maintain Your HVAC system
Finally, you can keep your winter heating costs low by properly maintaining your HVAC system. The easiest thing you can do is check your filters. You should change them at least once a month, especially if your HVAC is in heavy usage. Clean filters allow your system to work properly and more efficiently.
It’s also wise to have a professional check your HVAC system, so schedule regular maintenance, especially before the change in seasons. A professional can tell you if your system is in working order and catch problems earlier to prevent costly repairs and breakdowns.
If you want to reduce your energy bills this winter, pay close attention to your heating costs. All you need to do is bundle up, lower the temperature of certain appliances, insulate and seal your home, and take good care of your HVAC system. Stay warm!