Written by Susan Lillard
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 19:26
Keeping your home warm in the winter is expensive, but it doesn't have to be. If you're trying to cut back on your heating costs, these tips can help.
- Improve the efficiency of your hot water heater by applying a "jacket" or water heater blanket to your water heater and pipes. This can improve the efficiency up to 7%.
- Install compact fluorescent CFL) light bulbs or replacement LED lights. Not only do these bulbs last much longer than a traditional light bulb, they also take much less energy
- Weather stripping, or air sealing, your doors and windows will help to protect your home from drafts. It doesn't take much of a gap for your home to lose a substantial amount of heat.
- Put your Christmas lights on a timer. Leaving your Christmas lights blazing all night can add up to a big charge on your electric bill. Have them automatically switch off at a set time every night. You can save even more by switching to LED Christmas lights this year.
- Close up your chimney. Warm air rises, and your chimney is the ultimate pathway to the outside world. Make sure that your chimney damper closes correctly. If it doesn't, replace it. It's cheaper to put in a new one than it is to lose the heat through your chimney all winter.
- Upgrade your thermostat. If you're still using a dial variety thermostat, it's time to upgrade to a new digital model. Most newer thermostats have a timer; no more forgetting to turn the heat down before you leave for the day or go to bed for the night.
- Add a new Energy Star appliance to your Christmas wish list. Putting in a more efficient washer, dryer, fridge or stove can save you money all year round. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
- Bundle up. Treat yourself to a super soft pair of slippers and a cozy throw or sweater. Putting on an extra layer of clothes is a much cheaper option that cranking the heater up a few more degrees.
- Change out your furnace filters. This is an easy, inexpensive step that not only saves your indoor air quality, but also helps your furnace to run more efficiently.
- Consider scheduling a free energy audit for your home. If you want to see what you're really spending your utility dollars on, a home energy audit is the way to go. An indoor air quality specialist will inspect your home, write up a list of improvements that will save you money on your utility bills, and then work with you to develop a plan for fixing any problems that you decide to address.