You Still Have Time to Save Energy and Money this Winter
Winter still has a strong hold on much of the country, and by now you have seen the effect that warming your home has on your bills (heating your home is the largest factor in your utility bill--about $600 spent annually). But, the good news is that there is still time to save before springtime blossoms.
Check out the following tips and see how you can save energy, save money and protect the environment from climate change with a few simple steps.
1.) Keep the cold out and the warm in by sealing and insulating!
- Sealing air leaks found around outer walls, windows, doors, etc. and adding insulation can save you up to 10% on your heating bills.
- Simple fixes include installing weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows. Bigger jobs might include sealing leaks and adding insulation.
- A good place to start is to check your attic insulation level. A good rule of thumb is that if the insulation level is just up to the top of the attic floor joists, you have less than half the recommended insulation levels for most locations in the U.S. Learn how measuring and improving your attic insulation can help you “Rule Your Attic!” this winter.
2.) Heat your home efficiently.
- Maintaining your HVAC system can save you big on your utility bills and your comfort. As much as half your home energy bill goes to heating and cooling.
- Check your furnace’s air filter once a month, especially during the heavy-use months of winter. A dirty filter slows air flow, making the system work harder which wastes energy. If it’s dirty, clean or replace it. At a minimum, clean or replace it every three months.
- Sealing and insulating air ducts, especially those in your attic or crawlspace, helps keep the heat where you want it and can improve your HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 10%.
- Consider a yearly professional tune-up of your HVAC system.
- If you need to replace your HVAC system, ask your contractor about ENERGY STAR certified units. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115. And make sure that your new energy-efficient unit is properly installed for maximum savings.
3.) Program for savings.
- If you do not yet have a programmable thermostat, you need to get one – and then program it for savings.
- All you have to do is set it up to match your schedule. This way you avoid heating your house when you don’t need to, saving you about $180 a year! To maximize savings without sacrificing comfort, program your thermostat to lower the heat by 8 degrees F or more when you’re away from home or asleep. It’s just that easy. Check out this video for more information on programming for savings.
The great news is that these tips can help you save energy at home all year long, no matter the season. A household equipped with ENERGY STAR certified products can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 107,000 pounds and save about $9,300 on utility bills over the life of these products. Need more help saving energy? Send us your questions via the ENERGY STAR Facebook page today!
About the Author: Brittney Gordon has worked for EPA’s ENERGY STAR since 2010, and is a member of the communications team.