Now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the cold-weather blues. With a proactive approach and a few smart adjustments, you can significantly reduce your heating bill – and perhaps spend the extra money on a much-deserved vacation to a warmer climate.
Consider this: The average American family spends 45 percent of their energy bill on space heating. So it’s no wonder why the following steps can save you a veritable fortune:
Step 1: Check the Windows
Check all of your windows for cracks, and fix them. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows that are designed for your particular climate. When the weather starts to cool, open your blinds and curtains when the sun is out to let the warmth in, and close them at dusk to hold in the heat.
Step 2: Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your home is already equipped with a programmable thermostat, then adjust its settings so the home is cooler when the family is out, and during the night. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, you can find the perfect model for your home by calling a reputable HVAC company.
Step 3: Examine the Door and Window Seals
Check every entryway and window in your home for drafts, and apply weather-stripping where necessary. If your doors are missing kickplates, replace those, as well.
Step 4: Check the Ceiling Fans
Hot air rises, so set all of your ceiling fans to blow clockwise. This will push the warm air from the ceiling into the room. Turn them off when you are gone or asleep.
Step 5: Investigate the Air Ducts
Perform a thorough check of all of the ductwork in your home, including the attic and crawl space. Rodents and normal wear and tear can wreak havoc on these systems, which in turn wastes energy. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, consult an HVAC professional.
Step 6: Clean Your Chimneys
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, then it is imperative that you clean the chimneys at least one time per year. This can significantly reduce your energy costs. It can also reduce the risk of a fire hazard because smoke residue is actually unspent fuel.
Step 7: Air-Seal the Home
Weather-stripping windows and doors can go a long way toward saving money on your monthly bill, but Energy.gov recommends checking all 19 points in the home for possible air loss.
Other Ways to Cut Energy Costs:
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Unplug energy hogs, such as radios, televisions and electronics, when they are not in use.
- Use your oven only when necessary, and cook in bulk when you do use it.
Following the above tips can substantially reduce your energy bills. The sooner you complete these steps, the more savings you will enjoy this upcoming season, and the more you will reduce your carbon footprint.