Published on November 23rd, 2012 | by Chris Keenan
Four Tips to Help You Save this Winter
The following tips can help you save money throughout the year, but with winter almost upon us, saving money seems more important now than ever. As with other yearly chores around the house like having your routine visit from the exterminator, performing these mundane tasks can help you cut down on energy waste and keep your money in the bank for fun things like holiday gifts.
Regular Maintenance for the Heating System
Dirt and neglect are the top two reasons that heating systems fail, but with some simple routine maintenance, you can keep your system in good working condition all year round. If your house is ten years or older, you want to make certain that it gets an inspection once a year. The inspection should be conducted by a licensed and insured contractor. Consider it a seasonal doctor’s appointment for the heating system, and that one inspection will ensure that you’re operating at peak performance. Part of the seasonal checkup should include changing the system’s air filter. This should be done every three months, at a minimum. If you have pets you should check all the filters in your house more frequently, and if it’s dirty make sure to change it. The heating system checkup and regular filter changes can save you between 5 to 15 percent on annual energy costs.
Home owners have a love hate relationship with programmable thermostats. When they work well, you can save up to three percent per degree on heating costs. When they malfunction, everyone’s miserable. However, programmable thermostats can control your home’s temperature when you’re away or asleep. On vacation, for example, you can program your house to remain cooler since no one’s at home. You can do the same for the time you’re asleep. Lowering the temperature a degree or two for a time will result in energy savings the next time you you’re your heating bill.
Seal the Leaks
Air leaks are some of the most common energy drains in your house. Cracks around windows and doors can leak heat, bring in dust and increase the humidity in your home. They’re simple to seal and can be done with a quick trip to the hardware store for supplies. You can make a seal using caulk, spray foam and weather stripping. You will feel an immediate impact in the temperature of the room which will be reflected on your energy bill. You’ll especially want to seal any air leaks if you’re adding insulation to your home. An absence of air leaks will increase the performance of the insulation.
Around the House
Even something as simple as washing and drying full loads of laundry can cut your energy costs by 2-4%. The dryer is one of the biggest energy users in the house. Cutting your loads of wash and dry will mean using both machines less and saving money.
On sunny days, open the curtains to let in as much light as possible. Use the free sunshine to warm the room that you’re using. Other rooms, like guest rooms, that get little use should have the vents closed and the doors closed to the room. This cuts down on the heat that you are using from being wasted in empty space.
With a few simple actions, you can run a more energy efficient house through the winter and save money as a result.