The Winter is hard for two main reasons. One, it’s cold as the dickens out which not only affects our bodies but also vehicles and pretty much everything else exposed to the elements. Second, the costs of heating our homes in the Winter often adds legitimately thousands of dollars to house operational costs which can be debilitating to many people.
There’s not a whole lot that can be done about the cold weather except layer up and cross off the days until Spring. When it comes to Winter energy costs, however, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be doing everything in your power to pay as low as possible. For one it’s your money you might as well save it for the holidays but also keeping down your energy costs is relatively simple with a few key tips:
Take Proper Care of Your Windows
Even double-paned insulated glass windows can benefit from sealing plastic over the top of them in the Winter. It’s just one more layer that cold has to pass through to enter the home and an extra barrier that helps retain heat. Even after weatherizing, you can install tight-fitting insulating drapes to virtually eliminate any threats of drafts. It’s also important to take advantage of your windows though – specifically opening up the South facing windows during the day so that sunlight can naturally warm your home.
Furnace and Thermostat Care
Your furnace is going to be busting its hump in the Winter so the least you can do is lighten the workload. This means having your furnace properly maintained and cleaned before the heating season and staying on top of filter changes throughout the Winter. You should also install a programmable thermostat so that your furnace can lay low during the day when nobody is home and at night while people are sleeping. This $30 or so investment can cut your heating costs by up to 10% or more.
Other Ways to Lower Energy Costs During Winter
A lot of lowering your energy costs during the Winter involves spending elbow grease instead of spending money. By being tedious and paying attention to detail you can make your home a fortress for retaining heat and expelling cold over the Winter season. Some examples include:
- Sealing up air leaks (caulking or spray foam) around windows and doors and from the broken siding.
- Plugging a chimney flue if you don’t plan on using it.
- Turn down your water heater
- Use LED bulbs and put your holiday lighting on a timer
- Adjust ceiling fans to clockwise to keep heat pushed down towards the room
Of course, you can also spend money as a way to save money on your energy costs. For example, you can install a secondary heat source such as a pellet stove as a way to lower the strain on your furnace. Many homeowners have found that an insulation upgrade, especially in the attic, can save them up to 30% annually on their Winter energy costs.
There is no one surefire way to lower your heating and energy bills this Winter. Instead what ends up happening is that you develop an overall cost-saving strategy over the years – adding to it each season until your bills are optimized.