Typically, energy usage peaks during the winter. Rather than running the heater full blast, tackle Jack Frost head on. Here are 20 tips to help reduce your energy usage during these frigid months.
The thermostat is the biggest enemy of a low energy bill. Fight the urge to bump it up a few degrees and compensate by using these tips:
1. Lower the thermostat. While it may seem minuscule, setting the thermostat down a few degrees can result in a big difference. Lower the thermostat down by a degree at a time until you can find a temperature you can tolerate.
2. Dress Warm. To compensate with lowering the thermostat, dress warmer while your at home. Get the use out of your winter clothes.
3. People = Heat. When you have a few people over you can afford to lower the thermostat a couple more degrees. Each additional person generates more heat.
4. Relocate the Thermostat. The location of the thermostat can make a big difference as well. Make sure its in a location that represents an average reading of your home to ensure accurate readings.
5. Programmable Thermostat. Invest in a programmable thermostat. There is no use to heat the house when no one is home. Set the temperature even lower when you snuggle up in bed.
Windows and Doors
You can greatly reduce your energy bills by eliminating the amount of heat that escapes your home. Make sure that warm air stays inside and that the cold air stays outside.
6. Properly Seal. Make sure all windows and doors are properly sealed. A little bit of caulking and weather stripping can go a long way to keep heat inside. Make your own Draft Dodgers to stop air from flowing under your doors.
7. Check for Air Leakage. A couple of ways to see if your windows are leaky: 1) Shine a flashlight from the outside around the pane and have someone check for light inside. 2) Light a match 2-3 inches away from the window and notice the smoke / flame movement. 3) Check for the curtains fluttering from outside breezes
8. Curtains. Keep curtains open during the day to let sunlight in, and close them at night to keep help trap heat inside.
9. Window Films. Low Emissivity Window Films will help prevent heat from leaving your home through its windows. It will also reflect heat during the summer months to help cut costs on cooling.
People seldom realize that a huge consumer of energy during the winter months is the water heater. A few optimizations will take a big chunk out of your energy bill.
10. Set the Temperature. Newer water heaters come preset at unnecessarily high temperatures. Adjust it down to 120 – 130 ° F.
11. Pass the Gas. Gas water heaters consume less energy then electric ones. Consider switching over.
12. Off Peak Rates. Check with your utility company to see if they use off peak rates. If you shower or wash dishes and clothes during off peak hours you could shave a significant amount of money off of your bill.
13. Turn it off. There is no need to have your water heater running when no one is home or using it. Invest in a timer to shut it off when you are at work or asleep. Turn it off completely when you leave town.
14. Cut usage. Even trimming a few minutes off of each shower could equate to big savings. Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine instead of several smaller ones. Wash your clothes with cold water when possible.
15. Low Flow. Install Low Flow shower heads and faucets. Some boast savings as much as 50% on water heating / usage.
16. Drain Sediment. Drain the sediment for the water heater. Sediment will lower the efficiency and lifespan of your water heater.
17. Lose the Tank. If your household is a heavy user consider looking into a tankless water heater. While they cost more than a traditional water heater, you could see savings very quickly with a large family. They also offer other conveniences over traditional water heaters. Before you seriously consider investing in a tankless water heater, sit down and do the math to see how see long until you will break even and start saving money.
18. Wrap it Up. Install a Water Heater Blanket. Insulate your water heater by wrapping it with a thermal blanket. Make your own or pick one up for a few dollars at your hardware store.
19. Insulate your pipes. Cover any exposed piping for at least 5 feet from your water heater.
20. Tax Breaks. A lot of investments may be eligible for tax rebates / breaks. Check with your local government to see if any your projects may qualify. Even small purchases like window films may make the cut.
Find new ways to limit your energy usage. Every second and drop counts, even the smallest concessions will add up over time. Cut down on usage, and turn it off when not in use!
Have any success stories or tips concerning winter energy usage reduction? Share them below!