The winter weather outside is, indeed, frightful. Although it looks pretty from the windows, the hidden costs of winter can easily creep up on you as the temperatures drop and utility costs begin to rise. Here are 10 things you can do to save on your energy bills this winter.
1. Keep the temperatures of your home relatively consistent.
It might sound like we are contradicting ourselves on this one but hear us out. Running your heat at a consistently low temperature rather than turning it on and off can actually save you energy in the long run. When you turn your heat off, your furnace will actually expend more energy starting back up and warming to a higher heat rather than just maintaining a lower temperature throughout the day. Slight fluctuations in temperature are always more energy-efficient than drastic ones.
2. Consider implementing a smart thermostat
Although a Smart Thermostat may be a significant expense up front, the cost savings on the back end will make an impact on your energy bill especially in the winter time. These thermostats allow you to schedule the heating and cooling of your home, and can be controlled from any smart phone device. The Nest is an excellent, user friendly option that can be swapped out in place of a traditional thermostat in a matter of minutes. Consider setting it to a schedule to turn your heat down at night and during the days when you leave the house.
(Note: Creative Homes is not an affiliate of Nest Technologies.)
3. Turn on your ceiling fans
Believe it or not, a ceiling fan can impact the energy efficiency of your home in both the winter and summer months. By switching the rotation of your ceiling fan to work in your favor, you can help to circulate the hot air that naturally rises to the ceiling more efficiently.
Be sure your ceiling fan rotates clock wise at a low speed in the winter time. This creates a gentle updraft to push the warm air back down along the walls and the floor. On the contrary, switching your fan to rotate counter clockwise will push the colder air on the floor up along the walls to the ceiling throughout the room. Look for a small switch on the base of the ceiling fan to change its rotation.
Go through your home and check your weather stripping and window casing. Replace or refill any gaps or loose weather stripping you may find. Additionally, take an adventure up into the attic to ensure its properly insulated. By swapping the insulation out for a higher rating, or adding spray foam, you can save hundreds of dollars a year and keep yourself warm while you're at it.
5. Use a Humidifier
As the temperatures begin to drop, the air becomes significantly drier. The more moisture in the air, the better it will hold heat, and the warmer it will feel. By introducing a humidifier into a larger space in your home, you can set your thermostat to a lower temperature without compromising your comfort.
6. Use your exhaust fans sparingly
Exhaust fans venting from the bathroom and kitchen are meant to pull hot air out of the home from the stove or the shower. Be sure to only turn them on as needed and turn them off when you are done using them.
7. Close the vents to spaces you don't use
Be sure to shut the vents of the rooms you may not be spending much time in. By closing the vents to an area such as a larger storage room, or a guest bedroom, it redirects the the warm air elsewhere which ultimately saves you money. Consider keeping the internal doors of your home shut to trap heat in the respective spaces as well.
8. Swap out your furnace filter
Be sure to check your furnace filter monthly and replace when it becomes dirty. A furnace that is clogged with dust and dirt has to work harder to push air through your home. Be sure to keep your ducts clean to maximize your furnace's efforts.
9. Don't block the vents.
This might seem like a no brainer to some. Arrange your furniture in a way that allows all the vents to be seen. If you block the vents of your home with a large item such as a couch or dresser, the object blocking the vent will absorb all of the heat rather than dispersing it out into the room. Rearrange accordingly.
10. Bundle up! Literally.
Last but not least, consider turning your thermostat down a degree or two from where you would normally prefer it to be. Grab your slippers and a cozy sweater and bundle up! A hot cup of tea wouldn't hurt either.
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Infographic credit of Garadry