Prepare your home for winter to save money

Prepare your home for winter to save money

Winter heating bills graphic

The hot summer days are still fresh in our minds, but now is the best time to get your home ready for winter so you can be more comfortable and save money on heating costs.

To stay warm, you can turn down the thermostat a few degrees from where you would normally keep it and dress in layers. Keep your feet warm and have plenty of extra blankets around.

Some people like to pull up the covers at night when it’s cold outside. Add extra blankets, use flannel sheets, and a thick comforter so that you can turn down your thermostat while you sleep. It also helps to use insulated or lined curtains to keep the cold air out—not only in your bedroom, but throughout your home.

Here are some energy-saving tips to help you get started on your way to saving money this winter:

  • Get your heating system regularly maintained and serviced by a HVAC professional so it’s working at peak efficiency. Keep your furnace clean and change the filter monthly.
  • Regularly vacuum or clean vents.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. If you do not use your fireplace, plug and seal the flume.
  • Do not heat an empty home. A programmable thermostat can help this become automatic. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can reduce energy costs by up to 10 percent.
  • A leaky house is expensive to heat. According to Energy.gov, sealing uncontrolled air leaks can save from $83 to $166 a year. Weather stripping double-hung windows can save $42 to $86 annually. Windows, doors, attics, attic access, outlets, walls, chimneys, and pipes entering or exiting your home are common sources of air leaks.
  • Let the sun shine in your home during the day to use Mother Nature’s warmth. Close window coverings after dusk, however, to reduce heat loss.
  • Run your ceiling fans in a clockwise direction. Doing so will push down and redistribute warm air that naturally rises.
  • Consider turning down your water heater to 120 or 125 degrees. Also install a water heater blanket to help insulate it to give it a step up in warming your water.
  • When it comes time to replace your furnace or any part of your HVAC system, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient version by looking for the EnergyStar designation.
  • Decrease the use of the built-in ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. In the colder months, they do a good job of transferring heat from inside your home to the backyard. Use the fans only when needed and turn them off as soon as you can.
  • Bring in the moisture with a humidifier. Dry air makes the air feel colder and increasing moisture in the air causes indoor air to retain more heat.
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