First off! To save money and energy this winter, here are some good habits you should adopt as soon as possible.
Good Winter Water Heater Habits
Did you know that heating water accounts for over 15% of the energy used in your house? Save money by turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120°F. If you set it much higher, you’ll lose money over the winter when the cold air outside makes it harder than ever to keep the water warm.
Tip: Keep your hot water heater on when leaving town for the holidays, just turn the temperature down while you’re gone. It’d cost you more to let the water cool down completely and have to heat it up again than it does to leave it at a cooler temperature than normal.
Good Laundry Habits
So the majority of the energy your washing machine uses to do a load of laundry goes to heating the water. Therefore, it pays to wash your clothes in cold water. If you use hot or warm water in a top-loading machine and electric water heater for a year, that’d equal using about 182 gallons of gas in a car. Thereby, cold water would equal only 8 gallons of gas for the year (TreeHugger).
Tip: Be sure to clean out your dryer’s lint filter after each load and clean the venting system that runs from the dryer to the house at least once a year. Extra lint makes your dryer work harder (costing you more) and can cause the dryer fuse to burn out or even a dryer fire. A long cleaning brush does the trick. Using a Dryer Airflow Checker to monitor lint buildup and blockage in your venting and possible carbon monoxide buildup is also recommended.
Good Furnace Habits
During the winter months, you may want to consider replacing your furnace air filter once a month or as needed. And if your furnace has seen better days, say bye. Yes, it’ll save you in the long run to replace it now. Furthermore, newer furnaces produce more heat using less energy. Finally, remember to set your furnace as low as comfortable when you’re home and drop the temperature 10° to 15° when you’re gone for the day. Furthermore, this can save you 10% to 15% a year on heating costs.
Tip: A programmable thermostat can save you even more by making these temperature changes automatically. Furthermore and even better, go with a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat. Cause without question that’s much easier to program using a smartphone, tablet or computer. However, whichever route you choose, you could save around $180 a year.
Good Humidifier Habits
It may seem like an odd approach to saving money, but a home humidifier can actually cut energy costs over the winter. Since furnaces produce dry air, and dry air isn’t known for holding heat, a house humidifier can bump up the humidity and warm up the feeling of the air. It also helps the temperatures in your home to decline at a slower rate, reducing your heating bill.
Tip: Be sure to clean the rust, scale and hard water deposits from your home humidifier and replace the humidifier pad or filter once a year.
Good Kitchen Appliance Habits:
There are three easy ways to save money when you run your dishwasher: Only run it when it’s full (saving 1,000 gallons of water/month); don’t use the heated dry setting, open it when they’re clean and let them air dry instead; just scrape the dishes clean before putting them in, no need to prewash them.
Your crockpot, pressure cooker, toaster oven or microwave should become your new best friends. They all use less wattage/energy than an oven or stove. They can cut your energy consumption by up to 50%. Also, keep the oven door shut when you’re cooking/baking. I mean each time you open the door the temperature can drop by 25°. But once you’re done cooking and the oven is turned off, keep the door cracked open. The residual heat can help warm your home and save you money.
Here’s a simple tip: clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils twice a year. The coils are either behind or under the fridge and can be cleaned using a long-handled bristle brush or vacuum attachment. This stops your refrigerator from having to work so hard, which in turn uses less energy.
Tip: If any of your kitchen appliances are 10-15 years old or older, then you might consider replacing them with new Energy Star rated models. Check out this Energy Star appliance product guide from the U.S. Department of Energy before buying.
Chris Zeisler is a master technician at Repair Clinic. Repair Clinic technicians are available 24/7 online via live chat or phone at 800-269-2609.