Although we’re expecting a big warm-up this week, you know that won’t last.
After the last two weeks of cold, I’m not really looking forward to seeing my own heating bill, as I’m sure you’re not. The typical family spends $1,300 on energy bills during the course of a normal winter â€“ but with energy prices still near their all-time high, you can expect your bill to be significantly more than that. What can you do? Let’s start with plugging the air leaks.
The U.S. Department of Energy offers an entire website that is designed to help you find ways to save on your energy bills. You can find the website at www.eere.energy.gov/consumerinfo
But here’s a preview of what you’ll find:
Sources of air leaks into your home
- Dropped ceilings
- Recessed lighting
- Attic entrance
- Sill plates
- Water and furnace flues
- All ducts
- Door frames
- Chimney flashing
- Window frames
- Electrical outlets and switches
- Plumbing and utilities
Don’t lose the energy out of your windows: use your curtains and shades to keep warm air in at night (close them) and get the sun’s warming energy during the day (open them).
If your windows aren’t double insulated, tape clear plastic sheeting to the inside of your window frames. Do this if you can feel drafts, water condensation or frost.
If leaky windows continue to be a problem, consider installing storm windows over single-pane windows or a storm door over a leaky front door. (i did this during this past summer and it’s made a huge difference so far this winter.)
Here are some other ways to keep your house warm while cutting your energy bill:
- Add insulation to the attic. Warm air rises. This way, you’ll trap it.
- Check your ducts for leaks (or have a professional do this). Look for sections that have separated and for holes. Consider hiring a professional to insulate your ducts. (be sure to get several quotes and check out the background of the professional through the better business bureau website www.bbbonline.org before you sign a contract.)
- Install a programmable thermostat. You can set the thermostat to automatically lower the temperature in the house while you’re away at work. Lowering your thermostat from 78 to 65 for 8 hours a day can save 10 percent on your heating bill. Lowering it 2 degrees around the clock can achieve even greater savings.
- Regularly clean and replace your furnace air filters. Don’t block your registers or returns.
- Close the damper on your wood-burning fireplace when it’s not in use. Don’t use a ventilation fan while you’ve got your wood-burning fireplace on or you’ll end up with smoke and soot throughout your house and you’ll lose the heating benefits of the fireplace.
- Set your hot water heater to 120 f degrees, or “medium.” Use the vacation setting if you’re leaving the house for more than a day or two. You can also insulate your hot water heater with a “blanket” or cover. Buy that at your local home improvement store for a few dollars.
- Keep your refrigerator full. It’ll operate more efficiently.
- Energy star appliances can save money, but they’re typically more expensive than buying cheaper appliances. Before you buy a new appliances, shop around and try to compare how much you’ll save with the appliance versus how much you’ll spend to buy the energy saving model.
For more energy saving tips, check out www.thinkglink.com.