Winter is here in full force, and many of us might be feeling the cold air coming through the windows and the cold gust as guests drop in and out. Luckily, you can help combat the winter weather and you don’t have to watch your energy bill jump sky high to heat your home. With small changes, you can make your home more efficient to get you through the winter without breaking the bank (and freezing your toes).
Taking the time to do some tweaks around the house to make your home more efficient will help your home save energy, help you save money, and ensure your family stays warm and cozy this winter. These tweaks range from free to relatively inexpensive, and you can take action right away.
Here are my top tips:
1. Manage your thermostat
Keeping the thermostat set to a lower temperature when you’re not at home and overnight while sleeping can make a huge difference in your energy bill. Consider turning your thermostat down at least 2 to 4 degrees. The more you turn your thermostat down, the more you will save, but take care not to turn the heat off completely. At night, try sleeping with a heavier blanket or duvet, and use flannel sheets.
A smart home thermostat is great for automatically controlling the temperature of your home when you’re away, or asleep. You can use the connected app on your phone to raise the turn up the thermostat so that your home is comfortable and warm after being out after a long, cold, day.Space heaters are a great way to keep only the room that you’re in nice and cozy, while the rest of your home stays at a cooler temperature.
2. Protect your windows
You can apply clear plastic film to the inside of your windows during the cold months to avoid any drafts. This fix is relatively cheap and pretty easy to install, just head over to your local hardware store. Alternatively, you may also want to look at installing heavy drapes to cover big windows that are still letting in some cool air. These heavy drapes and the window film will also be great in the summer to help keep the room cool – I’m all for year-round efficiency!
For those south-facing sunny spots in your house, keep your blinds or curtains open to naturally heat the room. Sunshine is a free heater, and will keep those rooms warm while you keep the thermostat down.
3. Check your air vents
If your air vent is blocked, chances are the heat won’t be able to get in at all, let alone efficiently. You want to ensure all vents are completely clear of furniture. This tip is super simple, and can result in a huge boost in efficiency.
4. Lower your hot water costs
Turning down the your water heater temperature settings will lower your energy bills for hot water, as can help prevent chances of being accidentally scalded.
5. Go on a leak solving mission
Do a once over of your entire home and check for leaks. Air can leak in around pipes, such as plumbing, chimneys, lights, the attic, etc. Consider weather stripping if there is a significant draft, and for small leaks caulking might do the trick. Many leaks have an easy DIY solution to get through the winter months, while others will require the help of a professional.
6. Give your home an energy audit
Especially as you and your family are spending much more time inside the home in the evenings and on weekends, try to be more mindful of turning off electricity. It gets dark much earlier in the winter months, and having the lights on that little bit longer into the late evening can have an impact on your bill. Try your best to only keep the light on in the room that you’re in.
7. Give your HVAC system a checkup
Keep your furnace and/or boiler running like at their optimum with the help of a maintenance professional. Your HVAC professional will test your heating systems, and can give you tips on how to perform basic maintenance yourself. Don’t forget to change your furnace filter(s) once a month since a clear filter means your furnace has to work less hard.
8. Keep using your ceiling fans
Since warm air rises, set your ceiling fans to rotate in reverse. This will help push the warm air in your home back down to ground level. Add in a warm sweater and some wooly socks, and you are on your way to feeling warm at home while knowing your bill won’t knock you over at the end of the month.
Remember, small changes can really add up when it comes to making your home more efficient during the winter. You’d be surprised how simple, quick, and cheap things you can do around your home to keep that energy bill down. Plus on the bright side, it’ll be spring before you know it!