Though winter brings cold weather, heavy snow and harsh winds, many people consider the worst part of the winter to be the high energy bills that stack up during the cold months. How can you make improvements to your home’s energy bills that stack up during the cold months? How can you make improvements to your home’s energy usage over the winter without breaking the bank on high-outlay projects or taking all winter to complete? Here are some easy ideas to help you get started.
Though many homeowners have begun to switch away from incandescent bulbs in their home, how much energy are the replacements costing you every month? LED lights, though slightly more expensive than their counterparts, are designed to last for about 50,000 hours – that’s five times the expected lifespan of a compact fluorescent bulb, or nearly 14 years of usage at ten hours per day. At the same time, they use less power, which means that despite the initial outlay, you’ll quickly be paid back in energy savings.
How efficient is your heating system? If it’s over 10 years old, there’s almost certainly a more efficient system available. There are also a wide range of options available, that have not been used commonly in the past but are much more efficient, such as radiant floor heating, ground-source or dual-fuel heat pumps, passive and active solar heating and similar options.
During the day, you may just need a little more light to be able to see well in your dining room, while you want more light during meals. Perhaps your child walks through there on the way to the bathroom late at night, so having some soft light to help them navigate the space without blinding them is a good option. In any of these situations, dimmer switches can make a huge difference in energy consumption, allowing you to only light the space with as little or as much light as is needed at the time.
It’s as reliable as death and taxes – your teenage daughter will leave the bathroom light and fan running 24/7 unless you stay on top of the situation. Timers and occupancy switches help reduce energy usage by switching off the lights automatically after a certain period of time or after the room has been vacant for a particular length of time. This helps reduce your electricity consumption by keeping the lights off when nobody is there.
Programmable and smart thermostats both help save money by allowing the temperature to move to a lower energy setting, typically by increasing the temperature where the air conditioner kicks in during the summer and lowering the temperature where the furnace kicks in during the winter. Smart thermostats have the added benefit of picking up patterns that you may not be aware of and adjusting the temperature automatically after a period of analysis.
When was the last time you cleaned your furnace or replaced the filter? Furnace maintenance can make a huge difference in energy efficiency and lifespan. A clogged filter makes the blower work harder, using more energy. Dust on the heat exchanger coils can also cause the system to work harder than necessary. A clean furnace is a an energy efficient furnace.
By making a few small changes at a time, you can enjoy a more energy efficient home all year round without a huge investment of time and energy. But how do you decide which options are the best for your home or office? Download the free guide below, Energy Saver 101: Home Heating, to learn about all of the options and resources to help you save money during the heating season.