Heating costs are on the rise, and the forecast calls for a colder winter in parts of the country. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are some simple and inexpensive ways to help curb your energy costs.
Replace your furnace filter each month in winter to make it more efficient. Keep vents unobstructed and clean. Open shades or curtains to the sun during the day, then close them tightly at night, sealing the warm air in. Keep registers and radiators clean and unobstructed and don’t overuse exhaust fans in the kitchen or bath, as these suck warm air right out of the room.
Dry heat wreaks havoc on our skin during winter and feels colder than moist air. Using a humidifier warms rooms without adjusting the thermostat.
Your windows and doors could be leaking up to 25% of your home’s heat. Lock it in with new weather stripping and seal gaps with caulking. Try insulated window coverings such as honeycomb shades and thermal window panels, or grab a blow dryer and a roll of adhesive film to add an extra layer of insulation to drafty glass panes.
Stop Burning Money
Wood-burning fireplaces turn cash to ash. They may be cozy, but up to 90% of their heat is lost through open flues and grates, so keep them closed when they’re not in use. Float an inflatable chimney balloon (approximately $50) when your fireplace isn’t lit and get fitted for inserts to lose less heat through its interior walls. Consider custom glass doors or less-expensive removable fireplace covers to better seal the hearth. And remember, annual fireplace inspections are a must for both safety and efficiency.
Programmable thermostats can cut costs by 10% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ranging in price from $25 to $249, they store multiple daily settings and keep your home at the lowest or most energy-efficient temperature. An advanced model like the Nest Learning Thermostat automatically programs itself and adjusts to your preferences. Monitor it remotely with a smartphone app to step up the tech and save even more.
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What are some of your energy-saving tips? Tell us below.
By Laura Heller