It’s a well known and commonly accepted fact that during the wintertime, you can expect to see higher utility bills due to the need for heat. What if I told you that the wintertime blues didn’t have to include shelling out more to the utility companies?
The colder temperatures will certainly add some extra work for your heating systems, but by following some of the tips listed below, you should be able to keep the costs at a more affordable level.
Step 1: Find and Seal Air Leaks
One reason your energy bills could be higher during the winter is due to air leaks in your home. According to Popular Mechanics, sealing air leaks and adding insulation can save up to 10% in heating bills.
Common air leak culprits can include:
- Recessed lights
- Attic hatches
- Electrical outlets
- Door and window frames
- Weather stripping around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Vents and fans
An easy way to find a large leak is to hold a stick of incense near doors, windows and electrical outlets or switch plates. If the smoke moves, you’ve found a leak. Also, if the outdoor air is 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the indoor air, you’ll be able to feel the leaks with a wet hand. Fortunately, many leaks that are found can be fixed with a caulking gun or a can of spray foam.
It is also simple to find areas of your home where insulation may be lacking during the winter. You can examine snowmelt patterns, condensation patterns or rain drying patterns on the walls and roof. Do you notice one part drying more quickly than the rest? Yep, that’s a sign of missing insulation.
Other Ways to Keep the Heat Bills Low
Did you know that you could save around 10% a year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day from it’s normal setting? Try to keep your thermostat set at 68 or as low as possible while you are home and awake, and then set it lower when you’re asleep or away from home. Don’t forget that you can always add extra layers of clothing during the winter too!
Having a programmable thermostat in your home is an excellent idea, as ENERGY STAR estimates it can save $180 a year.
One way to add a bit of extra warmth to your home without touching the thermostat involves your windows. Keep the draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day, which allows sunlight to come in and enter your home. Just be sure you remember to close those blinds at night to help reduce the chill and drafts!
We’re halfway through the winter season, which means there is still plenty of time for you to apply these tips in your home to save money on the utility bill. Keep in mind, any energy-efficient updates you make to your home can help increase its value and serve as selling points should you choose to list it!