While keeping your house warm and toasty will inevitably take
a significant bite out of your income, dont give up hope! Take a minute now to learn
how you can keep you winter energy costs to a minimum.
1. Plug the leaks.
Every home has areas that let hot air escape to the outside, but most of the loss
can be prevented. Living in a drafty home can cost up to 20% more in heating expenses.
Start by weather stripping your doors and windows. Then, cover other gaps in the
homes foundation. Finally, get a glass fireplace enclosure to prevent hot air
from escaping up the chimney. Every little bit helps!
The easiest and most cost-effective way to reduce heating costs is to insulate your attic.
Measure the depth of your current insulation. If its less than seven inches thick,
then consider upgrading. Check with your local home
improvement store to ensure you are following the right standards.
3. Use space
heaters. They might not be able to heat the whole house but the lowly
space heater can perform wonders in a bedroom, den or study. Put a space heater in each
bedroom at night and turn down the furnace. Remember though, that space heaters can
pose a fire hazard. Make sure yours will not tip over and read the operating
4. Buy energy
efficient products. Your appliances and electronics are energy gobblers.
When its time to replace them, remember that they actually have two costs: the
original price plus the long-term energy expense. When its time to replace your old
dishwasher, refrigerator, television or computer, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY
STAR is the governments rating program that shows you which models are most
5. Install a
programmable thermostat. These are a huge improvement over the old, analog
thermostats that most people still have. The new models allow you to lower the temperature
when youre at work, at school or sleeping which can result in savings of up to 30%.
Last winter, dropping the temperature of your house by one degree resulted in a 3%
savings on energy bills. These thermostats cost from $50 to $125 -- a great
6. Install ceiling
fans. Ceiling fans arent just for cooling in the summer;
theyre also extremely effective in the winter. Science class taught us that heat
rises, so stop heating your ceiling and bring the air down to earth by running fans slowly
and in reverse.
7. Move your
furniture. Think about the locations of your heat registers or radiators.
Do you have a couch, chair or stereo cabinet blocking a vent? If so,
youre decreasing the efficiency of your equipment and costing yourself money.
8. Wrap your tank.
A water tank insulation wrap costs about $20 and helps contain heat within the unit. You
can also add pre-cut pipe insulation to the exposed pipes that come out of the water
9. De-duct the
ductwork. Duct tape is great for hundreds of home improvement and repair
projects, but, ironically, it fails to do the job when used to plug leaks in ductwork. In
its place use mastic -- a gooey substance applied with a paintbrush, to seal all exposed
ductwork joints in the attic, crawlspace and basement.
10. Change the
lighting. Incandescent bulbs are outdated and terribly inefficient.
Replace the bulbs you use the most with long-life, ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulbs
and save $10 per bulb per year.
We all want a warm house, but we all enjoy saving money as
well. In addition to cutting your homes heating bill, you might also be able to cut
your homes insurance bill.