Ways to Save Energy Costs This Winter

To save money this winter on energy costs, start by turning down the thermostat and bundling up. Most of the money spent on energy during winter months goes to heating, so by keeping the thermostat low the savings can be significant. Thick socks and sweaters will make up the difference.

Programmable digital thermostats can also save money by making sure the heating system is only on when someone’s home or awake. A properly programmed digital thermostat means never having to remember to turn down the heat at bedtime, and you’ll wake up to a warm house.

Let the sunshine in as much as possible during daylight hours to take advantage of passive solar heating. Southern exposures will give the most light, but don’t neglect the morning and evening light. Take advantage of heat’s tendency to rise by reversing the direction of ceiling fans in your home. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the base that will change the blades’ direction of spin.

Once the house is warm, keep it that way by keeping doors and windows shut tight. Close off smaller rooms that aren’t used much during the day, and seal windows that won’t be opened again until spring with plastic film storm window kits. Also, check to make sure caulking and weatherstripping is intact to avoid losing heat through cracks and under doors.

Check the attic insulation. Anything less than seven inches of spray insulation, the equivalent of R-38, isn’t enough. Houses that don’t have it are leaking money. A house’s heating and cooling ducts should also be insulated, and furnace filters replaced on a regular schedule to increase efficiency. Regular maintenance will also keep efficiency high.

For more serious savings, consider replacing older, inefficient heating units. Energy-saving technology has come a long way in the last few years, and reduced energy bills over time will offset replacement costs. Some power companies and government programs offer rebates than can reduce costs substantially for new energy-saving appliances and fixtures. Check online to see what’s available in your area. Dunston Aire

The other heating done in homes takes place in a dark, forgotten closet somewhere or perhaps a dank basement where the hot water heater is installed. It, too, needs a thick insulating blanket to reduce radiant heat loss, and turning down its thermostat to 125 degrees Fahrenheit will keep help energy costs down this winter and all year long.

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