Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Home Savings: How to Save Money on Energy this Winter

Winter is here and you may have noticed that some of your energy bills have started to go up. It is this time of the year that almost everyone starts using more energy to heat their homes. There are quite a few easy steps that homeowners can take to cut back on energy bills this winter. Here is a combination of do-it-yourself projects and some professional upgrades that will cut down on your monthly expenses while still keeping your home warm during the coldest months of the year.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Saving on energy bills is not just about keeping a home at the right temperature, but only having the furnace or heater on precisely when it is needed. A programmable thermostat allows residents to set the temperature that they would like their home to be at as well as set timers. Instead of leaving the heater on all day, it will only turn on just before anyone gets back from work or school. You can also set the temperature in different rooms that way the rooms that you are currently using or using the most will stay warmer. By limiting the heat in the rooms that are used less, it will allow you to save money on your energy costs while at home.

Utilize Your Fireplace

Many homes don’t have a traditional fireplace anymore, but if you have one, you will save a lot of money if you utilize your fireplace. This will provide you the possibility of turning your furnace off or at the very least turn it down as your fireplace should be able to heat your whole home and allow you to save money on your energy costs each month.

Push Back the Curtains

Winter may seem like a bad time to keep the curtains open, but natural sunlight can still heat up a home considerably. On sunny days, a family should push back the curtains on west and south-facing windows each afternoon in order to heat the home by a few degrees. As an added bonus, energy efficient windows will still help to keep the house insulated from the outside weather while allowing sunlight to get in. 

Plugging Leaks

Depending on the age of a home and how well it was constructed, the average house is losing around 10 percent of its heating efficiency through small cracks and leaks. This weekend project should begin by caulking or weather-stripping leaks around any major doors and windows. Old vents, pipes, and electrical wires may also be letting in cold air if not properly sealed.

Install New Insulation

Due to the fact that heat travels up, an attic is a prime location for improving on one's energy bills. Within most homes, insulation in the attic will need to be changed at least every few years, but the attic's insulation should be inspected at least once a year for any damage (Source: Great Canadian). For some families, this will improve the heat retention of a home by as much as 20 percent. 

HVAC Tune-Up

HVAC systems are relatively complex and should be serviced and maintained at least once a year, preferably well before the cold weather sets in. Professional maintenance will include steps such as checking ducts for leaks, tightening belts, topping off fluids, and checking the accuracy of the thermostat. A professional HVAC technician is also needed to achieve the right balance for fuel and air for a furnace's pilot light.

Just because the weather is changing does not mean that a family needs to break the bank in order to keep their home comfortable. Some easy preventative steps are all that is needed to keep any building insulated and warm throughout the winter.

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