10 Clever Ways to Cut Down Your Energy Costs in Winter
Winter is on its way, but this time it doesn’t have to bring ridiculous looking energy bills with it. All you have to do is play it safe and inspect your house thoroughly for possible heat reducing areas; fixing them up could dramatically reduce how much you need to spend to keep the place warm. This article will help you find strategies to help you save energy during the cold winter months.
Some of the tips mentioned below are free and just require a constant repetition to help you in the long run; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter season.
- Don’t Shy Away from sunlight – The sun’ rays are one of the primary sources, which provides warmth, light and sustenance to the life on planet earth. So shying away from them is not going to solve anything. Instead, the sun’ rays still bring some heat into your home in cold winters. They are free, so why not take advantage of them. This sunlight infused heat will reduce how much your furnace needs to run.
- Trim any tree branches or shrubs that block the sunlight around your windows to maximise the gains. Close the curtains at night, so they act as barriers to reduce drafts.
- Cover your windows with Plastic film – Studies have revealed that Windows and doors contribute to a tremendous 25-30% heat loss in winters. And add insult to injury, this problem does not have a specific solution. However, covering the windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film can reduce that loss. Some experts reveal that using this technique can reduce your heating bills by 14%. The transparent film is inexpensive; you can find it for about $6 for 62 x 84 inches at home centres. The film is simple to put on and won’t harm your trim, and if you put it on correctly, you’ll barely notice it. In the spring, the film comes off quickly.
- Switch to the portable heater – According to PEPCO, you can save 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree below 70 F that you turn down the furnace. But turning down the furnace without a solution is madness. One possible settlement in this situation is the portable heating appliances. Put a space heater in the place where your family gathers, like the living room, and turn down the furnace temperature. Of course, you have to buy the heater and use electricity, which cuts into the overall savings. Portable heaters start at about $30, and an electric heater that uses 1500 watts will cost you 14 cents per hour, based on a rate of 8.14 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to Nebraska Public Power District. Still, the savings from reducing the furnace temperature should offset the cost of using the space heater and then some.
- Plug holes in exterior walls – Heat travels from warm to a cold surface. And a majority of the pipes, gas lines and electrical cables that enter your house often have gaps around them that have been haphazardly filled with some caulk. But that caulk eventually cracks, peels, and falls off. These shortcomings let in outside air, plus they are ideal entry points for mice and insects.
- Seal the gaps with expanding foam. For water pipes under the sink, unscrew and pull back the escutcheon ring, then caulk around the pipe.
- Insulate your Attic Door – As mentioned earlier to save the energy costs you need to account for all possible heat loss points in your home. Even in well-insulated attics, the access door may not be properly insulated, letting warm air escape through the attic hatch. And if the door wrapped or obstructed, it won’t lie flat and will be a cause of even more heat loss. To ensure that the door blocks air flow, use adhesive to attach fibreglass insulation or you can choose between SIPs or R-Control Structures to make sure that the door is properly sealed.
- Ductwork – According to Energy Star, the typical house with forced-air heating loses about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. It is therefore advised to have a look at the ductwork for any potential leaks. Place a mastic sealant or metal tape over any leaks to seal them.
- Drafts around electrical boxes – Not many people realise, but electrical boxes in your house’ exterior walls are notoriously drafty, which is primarily due to incorrect or haphazard insulation around them. It is, therefore, imperative to remedy this situation. To stop the leaks, remove the cover plates and fill small gaps around the boxes with acrylic latex caulk. For large gaps, use foam sealant. Then place a foam gasket over the outlet or switch and replace the cover plate. The gaskets cost about $1.10 for a two-pack.
- Weather-stripping – Worn, torn or faulty weatherstripping creates drafts and lets in cold air. According to Black Hills Energy, 10-12% heat loss is attributed to this particular reason, which results in prompting homeowners to turn up their furnaces to keep comfy. Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years because of wear. Replacing it is typically as simple as pulling off the old and taking on the new.
Fast and Free:
Using what you have at your disposal is becoming the new trend from the last couple of years. And nothing gets more points in this trend then to lower your energy cost by cutting back unnecessary energy use. Here are some suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.
- Keep it shut. Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser – it’s best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make sure the damper is closed.
- Eliminate wasted energy. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Unplug that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t truly need it – this seemingly convenient way to keep extra drinks cold adds 10-25 percent to your electric bill.
- Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent.
- Use appliances efficiently. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer.
- Put your computer and monitor to sleep.