Efficiency is all about getting something done using a minimum amount of time and energy. During the winter months, it can be difficult to maintain an efficient home due to the cold. Making sure your home is energy efficient can mean lower utility bills and a better level of comfort for you and your family.
Don’t Let the Heat Escape
You can make your home more energy efficient by making sure there are no leaks around doors and windows. You could have the ‘greenest’ heating system, windows and insulation, but leaks allow the warm air out of your house and waste energy. Most leaks can be sealed easily with a little weather stripping or caulk. If you have older windows, you may want to consider sealing them with plastic.
During the day, open the curtains of any window that gets direct sunlight. The sun’s heat is a free resource and can really help to warm up a home during the winter. For windows that are not facing the sun, close the curtains tightly to prevent the warm air from escaping.
If you have a fireplace, be sure to keep the damper closed unless you’re using it. An open fireplace damper is a quick escape route for warm air in your home.
Ceiling fans are another great way to keep your home cozy during the winter months. Simply set the ceiling fan to rotate clockwise, which will keep warmer air from rising upstairs.
Use the Heat Sparingly
Even the most tightly sealed home still uses a lot of energy to stay warm when the temperature is low. Be strategic about how you use your heat to prevent energy bills from skyrocketing.
Start by setting your thermostat as low as you can without sacrificing too much comfort. Layer your clothes, cover up with a blanket, and wear socks or warm slippers so that you don’t have to keep the temperature in your home as high.
When you’re sleeping or out of the house, lower the heat by 10 or 15 degrees. A small change like this can make a huge difference in your energy bill.
If you don’t want to constantly change your thermostat, consider getting a programmable one so you can create schedules that will adjust the temperatures and save you money automatically.
Less Money for Lights, More Money for Presents
Maintaining a decorated home for the holidays can be expensive, especially if you’re using lots of lights on your tree or the exterior of your home. If you’re still using old incandescent lights, considering changing to LED. LED lights use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. They are also less likely to start a fire.
If possible, refrain from using strings of lights around your home at all. There are plenty of other creative ways you can decorate your home.
It’s Expensive to Keep Water Hot During the Winter
Most water heaters are located in unfinished areas. Whether it’s an attic, a basement or a storage closet, you’re likely wasting a lot of energy trying to keep your water hot in a cold environment. Insulate the tank and pipes around your hot water heater to help prevent heat loss. If it’s within your budget, consider purchasing a tankless water heater.
Have you ever noticed how much hotter the “hot” water feels coming out of your faucet during the winter than it does in the summer? Most people set the hot water heater higher than necessary. Lowering it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit will make it easier for the hot water heater to maintain the temperature. You will also be less likely to scald yourself with hot water.
Here are a few other simple ways you can conserve hot water during the winter:
- Use cold water to wash and rinse your clothes
- Turn off the “pre-rinse” cycle on your dishwasher. Rinse them by hand before putting them in the dishwasher
- Take shorter showers
Maintain Your Heating and Cooling System
While all of the tips above will help you maintain an energy-efficient home in the winter, you’ll be left out in the cold if your heating system isn’t working properly. Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure that your system runs at peak performance. If you haven’t had your system checked out in a while, schedule a service call today.