To help save energy costs this winter, check out these simple, inexpensive tips:
Take advantage of heat from the sun.
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Cover drafty windows.
- Use heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Adjust the temperature.
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours and save up to 10 percent on your annual heating and cooling bills.
- A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
- If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat designed for use with heat pumps.
Find and seal leaks.
- Find and seal leaks around utility pipes, gaps around chimneys, recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished space behind cupboards and closets.
- Add caulk or weather stripping to stop air leaks around doors and windows.
Maintain your heating system.
- Schedule a service appointment on your heating system to keep it operating efficiently.
- Replace filters monthly or as needed.
- Wood-burning and pellet-burning heaters: Clean flue vent regularly and clean inside, with a wire brush, as needed to maintain efficiency.
Reduce heat loss from fireplace.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly (approximately 1 inch) and close the doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees.
- If you never use the fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room.
- Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
- Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
- Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
Lower your water heating costs.
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to warm setting (120 degrees). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
Lower your holiday lighting costs.
- Use light-emitting diode, or LED, holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.