You may think about the obvious ways to save energy in your home during the winter: turning down the thermostat a few degrees while adding a sweater and a thick pair of socks, changing your sheets to flannel versions for coziness and adding an extra blanket to the bed.
Other energy-saving tips include:
- Get your heating system regularly maintained and serviced by a HVAC professional so that it is working at peak efficiency.
- Keep your furnace clean and change the filter as recommended by your furnace manufacturer (newer furnaces may need new filters less frequently than older models).
- Regularly vacuum vents.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. If you do not use your fireplace, plug and seal the flume.
- Depending on the type of furnace you have, you may be able to use a smart thermostat or programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when no one is at home, and to warm up the house before you arrive home after work. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can reduce energy costs by up to 10 percent. However, some HVAC manufacturers recommend setting a comfortable temperature and leaving it set 24/7, year-round.
- A leaky house is expensive to heat. According to Energy.gov, sealing uncontrolled air leaks can save from $83 to $166 a year. Weather stripping double-hung windows can save $42 to $86 annually. Windows, doors, attics, attic access, outlets, walls and chimneys, as well as pipes entering or exiting your home are common sources of air leaks that can be insulated or caulked.
- Let the sun shine into your home during the day to pull warmth in. Close window coverings after dusk to reduce heat loss.
- When purchasing new draperies or blinds, choose insulated ones. They will help keep cold from seeping in during the winter and heat out of your home in the summer.
- Run your ceiling fans in a clockwise direction. Doing so will push down and redistribute warm air that naturally rises.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120 or 125°F. Also install a water heater blanket to help insulate it to give it a step up in warming your water, unless you have a super insulated water heater (contact your electric cooperative for more details) or unless the heater manufacturer recommends not adding a blanket.
- When it comes time to replace your furnace or any part of your HVAC system, replace it with an energy efficient version by looking for the EnergyStar designation. Check with us on rebates on electric systems.
- Decrease the use of the built-in ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. In the colder months, they will send heat from inside your home outside. Use the fans only when needed and turn them off as soon as you can.
- Add moisture with a humidifier, or research other ways to do that (such as well-watered plants, containers of water throughout the home, line-drying laundry inside). Dry air makes the air feel colder and increasing moisture in the air causes indoor air to retain more heat.
For home-specific information, contact your electric cooperative to schedule an energy audit to identify areas where you can save the most energy.
Source: Safe Electricity