It doesn’t take long for “Baby, it’s cold outside” to turn into “Baby, we can’t afford this heat bill.” Winter months are notorious for sending your utility bills through the roof and simultaneously sending you on the hunt for creative ways to keep them down and save money. So how can you stay both warm and cozy this winter and keep your utility bills under control? Consider a creative approach and try out several home tips to maximize your savings potential. Here’s 7 ways to conserve energy and save money in your home this winter.
Open Your Curtains
Open up curtains in all the south-facing windows in your home, even rooms you’re not using. This is a highly economical way to conserve energy because it literally costs you nothing. Inviting natural sunlight into the house during the day will provide ambient heat which may help you delay turning up the thermostat. It may not seem like much, but it’s incremental changes like this that add up to make a dent in your bill. Just be sure to close the curtains when the sun goes down.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Let it be said, if you don’t have one yet, this can be a true saver. A programmable thermostat will ensure you never go to bed or leave home with the heat blasting again. For maximum savings, set the temperature at 66° F or below during down times and no more than 72°F when you’re home.
Check the Insulation in the Attic
As a standard, all homes should have between R-22 and R-49 of attic insulation. Colder climates may require more. Not only will insulation help conserve energy and keep bills down, it may prevent costly ice dams that damage the roof and gutters.
Check For Unsealed Leaks
Unsealed leaks are like having a window open all the time. Do you have that one room that’s always a little cold no matter how long the heat is blasting? Maybe it’s time you inspect for leaks. Unsealed leaks can lead to costly energy bills and if left unnoticed, can expand over time. Check for cracks around window sills, baseboards, vents and anywhere a fixture pokes through to the outside of the house. Once you’ve located the leaks, use a simple tube of inexpensive caulking to seal them properly.
Maintain the HVAC system as needed. A new furnace is expensive, and so is one that doesn’t work properly. Keep yours running efficiently with an annual tune-up from a professional. Proper maintenance can also extend the life of a unit by several years. And don’t forget to replace the furnace filters every three months or sooner.
LED Lights For Holiday Displays
Use LED lights for holiday decorating. Holiday light displays can cause your utility bill to skyrocket. LEDs use about one-fourth the energy of traditional lights and have a significantly longer life-span. If you’re one to put up lights, this is a huge way to conserve energy and save some money around the holidays.
Turn Off Unused Lights
Turn off unused lights, I’ll say it again. We’ve all heard this plenty of times yet many of us are still guilty of leaving the lights on all around the house. It’d be quite astonishing to see the amount of wasted energy that comes from unused lights in this country. Darker, shorter days mean more time with the lights on, but lighting up an empty room is a waste of energy and money. Consider putting lights on timers or installing motion-activated sensors if the folks in your house can’t remember to flip the switch. Making the switch to a timer and staying on top of unused lighting will conserve energy and save you loads on your bills this winter.
Implementing ways to conserve energy but still not noticing a difference?
If you've tried most of these ideas and your winter utility bills are still too high, consider having an energy audit. You can schedule an audit through your local utility company. While an audit isn't free, it's a good investment, and you may qualify for rebates.
For additional home tips, tours and more explore the Home Channel TV Blog.