Helpful Hints to Lower Home Energy Costs
lower home energy costs It’s likely you’ve seen your heat bill increase over the past few months and have started to consider how you can better control your costs.

 

While keeping your house warm and toasty will inevitably take a significant bite out of your income, don’t 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 home’s foundation.  Finally, get a glass fireplace enclosure to prevent hot air from escaping up the chimney.  Every little bit helps!

2. Insulate. The easiest and most cost-effective way to reduce heating costs is to insulate your attic. Measure the depth of your current insulation. If it’s 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 instructions carefully.

4. Buy energy efficient products. Your appliances and electronics are energy gobblers. When it’s time to replace them, remember that they actually have two costs: the original price plus the long-term energy expense. When it’s time to replace your old dishwasher, refrigerator, television or computer, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is the government’s rating program that shows you which models are most efficient.

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 you’re 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 long-term bargain.

6. Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans aren’t just for cooling in the summer; they’re 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, you’re 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 heater.

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 home’s heating bill, you might also be able to cut your home’s insurance bill.