If you’re like most people, you can’t stand to live in a cold house. And when the winter months strike and frigid weather lingers, you’re faced with a choice: crank up the heat and use a bunch of energy, or suffer through the chilly temperatures. But what if there’s a better way?
Stay Warm With These 5 Energy Efficiency Tips
For households living in cold weather climates, the winter months can hit your wallet hard. Heating bills – whether gas or electric – skyrocket and can put a strain on your budget. It can also feel rather deflating to know that you’re pumping in a bunch of heat at the expense of the natural environment outside. But with that being said, there are some energy efficient steps you can take to stay warm – and they also tend to be cost-effective. Take a look:
Seal Up Gaps and Leaks
If your house feels a little drafty and your heating bills seem higher than normal, it’s likely that you have some leaks, gaps, and holes in your home where heat is fleeing into the outdoors. Research from the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that the average house – even when well insulated – contains enough gaps and cracks to create a 14-square-inch hole.
Some of the most common problem spots include attic holes, access hatches to unfinished spaces, fireplace dampers, air conditioners (window units), electrical outlets, recessed lights, wiring, plumbing, windows, doors, and basements.
Locating and diagnosing these leaks is half the battle. Once you find them, you must seal them up. Depending on the source of the leak, you’ll need to use weatherstripping, caulk, and/or application-specific insulation.
Leverage Natural Sunlight
The sun is your friend. Even when the weather is cold, the sun can provide a significant amount of heat for your home – if you let it. Open the curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during cold winter days to let in heat. Then, be sure to close window coverings when the sun goes down. (Skylights can also be really helpful, as they allow you to maximize sunlight throughout the daytime.)
Wear More Clothing
One of the easiest ways to lower your heat-related energy consumption is to wear more clothing when inside. By wearing long pants, socks, and layers, you can keep your thermostat much lower without feeling the effects. Furthermore, you should set your heat much lower during sleep hours and use a thick blanket to stay warm.
As Energy.gov explains, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.”
Only Heat Certain Rooms
There’s no sense in heating the entire house when you only use a few rooms. If you’re like most people, you only use the kitchen, main living area, a bathroom, and a couple of bedrooms. By closing off air vents and doors to unused rooms, you can maximize your energy consumption and avoid heating dead space.
Use Wood Burning Fireplace
Do you have a wood burning fireplace in your home? Utilizing it could allow you to save a considerable amount in energy costs throughout the year.
The key to using a wood burning fireplace is to be strategic with how you gather wood. Used throughout the winter, you’ll go through a massive amount of wood. Much of this wood can be gathered for free throughout the year. Wait for times when storms hit and offer to clean up properties in exchange for keeping the wood. Split it and keep it protected from the elements with a tarp.
Stay Warm and Toasty
Wintertime doesn’t have to be a dismal period for your household. By using smart, energy efficient strategies and habits, you can stay warm without your utility bills entering the panic zone.
Try some of the tips outlined in this article and consider implanting a few of your own. Creativity will serve you well in this pursuit.
Article Submitted By Community Writer