Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Ways to Save Money and Energy This Winter

It's that time again.  Football, leaves, apple cider, and the heating bill.  Don't worry, you can relax this season if you follow the tips below.  You'll feel warmer and thicker in the wallet!

1.     Set your Programmable Thermostat  We keep our temp. around 68 degrees in the cool months and around 76 degrees in the warm months.  The key is to reduce the workload on your heating/cooling unit.  Program your thermostat to keep the unit off during times you don't need it (such as 10pm to 6am and 8am to 5pm).  Don't forget to change your filter monthly to reduce the load on your unit.   

2.     Pick your New Lights Carefully  Ok, we've all heard the advice about switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs.  You also need to consider the lumens and wattage of each bulb.  Lumens measure the brightness and watts is a measure of the energy usage.  Obviously you want to pick the best of both worlds (highest lumens with lowest wattage).

3.     Use your Ceiling Fan  Sounds counterintuitive, but using your fan in the winter could save up to 10% off your heating bill.  Why?  A fan rotating in the correct direction, will recirculate the hot air that had risen to the ceiling.  Most fans have a summer and winter setting.  If it is not labeled, just make sure that the air is being forced down in the winter and up in the summer.

4.     Let the Sun Do Some Work   Keep blinds and shades open during the day to use the sun's heat energy.  Just remember to close them at night to prevent drafts (and block the neighbor's curious eyes).

5.     Bake Bake Bake   Do all your baking in the winter.  Your oven is more efficient than the stovetop and you'll also help your furnace heat your home.  

6.     Have a Good Foundation   Make sure those basement windows are closed and properly sealed.  Sounds silly, but a good friend of mine almost went the entire heating season before realizing that an old basement window was flapping in the breeze!  Imagine the money, I mean um heat that he was losing.  If you have old windows downstairs, buy some rope caulk and seal in the savings.

7.     Go Energy Star!    If you need to replace an appliance or furnace, make sure it is Energy Star rated.  Not only could you save with local and state rebates, you will also save in the long run with lower energy bills.        

Learn More:  Get the #1 Home Energy Savings Manual

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