How to Stay Warm This Winter while Reducing Your Energy Bills
Depending upon where you live, heating your home during the winter can be an expensive endeavor. Even if you strive to keep your heating equipment and vents in good, maintained condition, you may find your electric bills to be on the expensive side. While many often harbor slightly negative feelings towards the changing season and the onset of cold weather, there are a number of innovative ways that can help you keep your home a warm haven while keeping your energy bills reasonable.
The lower you set your thermostat, the more you could potentially save on your energy bill. However, lowering your thermostat too much could make for a very cold winter. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your home at a comfortable during the day while adjusting to lower temperatures while you sleep. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy stated that turning down the temperature 10 degrees for just eight hours could shave 10 percent off of your bill.
Ensure that Your Home is Well-Insulated
The small gaps around your windows and doors are quite efficient in sucking the air you’ve been paying to heat outside. Applying weather-stripping and ensuring that the caulk around your windows is well-maintained can save up to 30 percent on your energy bills.
For drafts caused by the space between your doors and flooring, the use of a draft snake can be a quick and easy fix. For example, placing a rolled up towel on the floor against the door should keep the warm air in and the cold air out. If you or your family members are stuck indoors due to poor weather conditions, a funky, attractive draft snake could potentially make a great project to keep everyone occupied.
Further, many hardware or general retail stores offer window insulation kits. These kits include plastic that can be used to cover your windows to provide an additional buffer between the inside and outside environment. When installed properly, the plastic becomes virtually invisible.
Seal Off Unused Portions of Your Home
If there are portions of your home that you just don’t use on a regular basis, don’t waste money on heating them. Seal off the ducts in these rooms and use a draft snake to plug any gaps. Not only will you use less heat overall, it will take less energy to heat the portion of your home that you do use. Further, shutting off unused rooms also reduces the amount of circulation of air throughout your home, which also reduces the amount of heat lost. Rooms that may not need to be regularly heated could include any room that you use for storage or your garage.
During the winter, the air within your home often becomes dry. Not only can dry air dry out your skin and cause discomfort, but it also makes you feel colder. Air that is moist holds heat and can make you feel warmer, especially if you set your thermostat to a lower temperature. As an added bonus, the moisture from a humidifier may also have some additional health benefits.
Check Your Water Heater
As the technology continues to advance, many people are choosing to turn to tankless water heaters or water heaters that make use of solar power. Not only do these types of water heaters reduce the amount of electricity your home uses, you can also take advantage of a federal tax credit that could potentially reimburse you for 30 percent of the cost or a maximum of $1,500.
If you are not in the market for a new water heater, you don’t have to lose out on the savings. One simple way to reduce your costs is to turn down the temperature of your water heater. When they are installed, water heaters are often set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In reality, most households do not need or use that much steam. Setting the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit could cut your bill by up to 10 percent.