When the temperature drops, your home’s energy costs rise. As you prepare your home for the snow, keep in mind there are several things you can do to cut energy costs (without hiring professionals to come in and remodel your home). Take a look at these simple home hacks for saving money.
1. Kill Your Vampire Devices
A “vampire device” is one that continues to use energy even when it’s not in use. Televisions, DVD players, DVRs, and microwaves are all examples of vampire devices. While it’s inconvenient to plug and unplug these every time you use them, you can get the same effect by using power strips. Look for versions that have an on/off switch for each socket on the strip.
2. Choose Better Lightbulbs
Along with the cold winds, winter brings more darkness, forcing you to keep the lights on for longer periods of time. To save money, switch your lightbulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. These energy-friendly light bulbs cost more initially, but they last longer than traditional lightbulbs and will save you money on your electricity bill each month.
3. Program Your Thermostat
If you’re not home, you don’t need to keep the house warm, but you might not always remember to turn the temperature down when you leave. A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times and days. You’ll save money if you keep it set to around 20 degrees Celsius when you’re home and around 15 degrees at night and when you’re gone. If your plans for the day change, you can always override the programming.
4. Hang Your Clothes Inside to Dry
Drying your clothes can take up a lot of energy, so try letting them air dry. You can even do this inside by hanging them on garment racks. To make this effective, clothes should be in a room with good airflow. Otherwise, the clothes might not dry fast enough and become musty. This technique has two benefits – the water evaporating from your clothes can help with the dry air in the home, and skipping the dryer makes your clothes last longer.
5. Cover Your Windows
South-facing windows might let the sun in to warm up your home, but all of the other windows could be making your home colder. Even if you have triple-pane windows, you should consider keeping them covered to keep the heat in your home. Insulating plastic can block cold air from seeping through the cracks around the window. You can also keep things insulated by hanging thermal curtains or honeycomb-shaped blinds in the windows.
6. Check Your Water Heater’s Temperature
The typical water heater has a reservoir of water that it constantly keeps warm, whether you’re using the water or not. In the winter, it has to work even harder to keep the water hot. You may be able to cut back on costs by lowering the temperature of the water. You simply won’t have to run as much cold water when you’re drawing your bath. When it’s time to replace the water heater, consider a tankless water heater, which uses much less energy.
7. Clear the Heating Vents
This sounds silly, but a lot of people mistakenly cover up heating vents as they try to pack all of their furniture into a room. This means that the heating system isn’t working as effectively as it should be. Check each room carefully to be sure there’s nothing blocking the path of hot air. Rearrange the furniture if necessary.
8. Prevent Warm Air from Escaping through the Chimney
A roaring fire can do wonders to heat up the home, but if there isn’t a fire burning, warm air can escape through the chimney. Closing the flue reduces the heat loss, but it doesn’t completely stop it. Consider purchasing a “chimney balloon” to fix this problem. It inflates to fill the space in your chimney, helping you keep your home warm.
9. Block Out Cold Air
Check your home for areas that might be letting some cold in. For instance, cold air often seeps in from under doors, around outlets, from the attic hatch, and from around pipes. Once you’ve identified these areas, you can purchase inexpensive materials that insulate your home and block the cold air.
Winter energy costs might be higher, but you shouldn’t have to suffer in the cold. By taking advantage of these simple hacks, you’ll be comfortable with your amount of spending, and in your warm home.