Old Man Winter is here to linger for a few months, and that can create a severe drag on your utility bills. If you want to save cash, you need energy-saving tips that work.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invest much or anything at all. The following eight tips will save you energy this winter without requiring a ton of extra cash or overhead on your part.
1. Take Advantage of Passive Solar
Are your windows covered by heavy blinds? While you might somewhat minimize drafts this way, the cold still seeps through — and you lose the ability to take advantage of passive solar heat.
One alternative is tinted one-way window film that lets you see out while keeping outsiders from gazing at your Hummel figurine collection from the street. Solar tinting can help protect your furniture and floors from UV rays, making them last longer, too.
Another option is to pull back all the curtains in your home to let the sunshine in, decreasing the workload on your HVAC system. If doing so makes you chilly, you have a problem that may need caulk — more on that later.
2. Bake at Night
Are you a night owl? With the shorter days, humans often find themselves becoming a bit more nocturnal in winter. Why not use the coldest part of the day to use passive heat from your oven to heat your home?
If you don’t want to risk waking up the little ones, go ahead and assemble your roast or pies during daylight hours. Wait until the sun goes down to preheat and pop it in to cook. When it’s time to serve your meal the next day, a few minutes of warming is all you need.
3. Change Your Lightbulbs
This tip does cost a nominal sum, but it’s something most folks can budget for — and it could be a smart move with some of your stimulus cash. Changing out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents (CFL), or, better yet, LED bulbs can save you and the planet considerable green over their lifespan.
It costs $4.80 to run an incandescent bulb for the year, versus only $1.00 for 12 watt LEDs and $1.20 for CFL. Plus, many of the former come in fun shades — add a little relaxation to your bedroom atmosphere with a lavender-tinted light.
4. Install a Master Switch
Take a tip from office managers who have used this tip to get the last departing employee to turn off the lights. Install a master switch so that you can power everything down at once, at least in unused rooms.
If you aren’t familiar with electrical work, it’s best to call an electrician, which can cost you — but not as much as a house fire. However, there is an inexpensive alternative. You could install Clapper devices so that you can turn lights and TVs off without getting out of your warm bed.
5. Get Out the Caulk Gun
If you get a draft when you sit by your window, consider it the cool chill of vampire breath as it sucks your money right out of your home in the form of higher utility costs. You can’t take full advantage of passive solar if you don’t first seal your windows for the season.
First, check if you need to repair or replace any weatherstripping. While you’re at this step, check your doors, too — a tighter seal also stops drafts there. Finally, fill any gaps around the exterior perimeter with caulk, and you’re set.
6. Maintain Your HVAC System
When was the last time you changed your filters? If you can’t remember, please get on that chore, stat. While a quality model can set you back around $20 at the store, that figure pales compared to HVAC repair bills. Plus, you can find less expensive fiberglass models for less than $5 in many areas.
How frequently you change filters depends on your household and the type of medium you choose. Quality models can last for three months or more, but you may need more frequent changes if you have pets or smokers. Inexpensive fiberglass varieties should get swapped monthly. Do it when you make your mortgage or rent payment so that you don’t forget.
7. Install a Smart Thermostat
Are you returning to work outside the home? Heading back to the office can mean returning home to a freezing house or wasting unnecessary money running the heater while away.
Instead, install a smart thermostat. You can perform this upgrade with little handyman experience. If you rent, your property manager might even have their maintenance person do it for free if you politely ask. While you don’t want to set it too low to avoid frozen pipes, turning it down a few degrees while you’re away and programming it to warm before you arrive saves considerable cash.
Does your home office sit on top of your garage? If you always shiver while you work, even when the rest of your house stays warm, you need to insulate your car corral’s roof to keep your floor and toes toastier.
While you have the pink stuff out, when was the last time you inspected the insulation in your attic? When you put your holiday decor away, check for cracks and bald spots and replace worn material.
Save Energy This Winter With These 8 Tips
For many people, it’s more crucial to save money during the cold months than ever. Save energy this winter with the eight tips above and minimal overhead.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.