The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home’s temperature during the winter. Here are 5 ways to keep the cold at bay and the heat in on a budget:
Dodge the Draft
Air leaks and drafts can increase your heating costs, so make sure your windows and doors are sealed. An easy remedy is to adopt a draft snake by rolling up a towel or filling up a pouch of fabric with sand or kitty litter. Draft guards can also be purchased. Try taping bubble wrap on your windows. It’s an inexpensive way to keep cold air out but still allow light to come through. If you really want to keep heat in, pack fiberglass insulation around basement doors and windows in rooms that aren’t used often. Consider investing in a set of energy efficient windows if your current ones are old. They qualify for a federal tax credit covering 10 percent of cost (not including installation costs), up to $200 for windows and skylights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use, so preventing them can go a long way toward saving you heat and money.
Small gaps in windows and doors, or cracks in your walls can let cool air in, increasing your energy bill. Check to see if your doors and windows have deteriorated over time, paying special attention to places where two different building materials meet, such as corners. If you find some allowing outside air in, you can fill them with caulk. Make sure to caulk the outside and inside. Pull off moldings to fill gaps in the insulation.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are typically thought of as cooling devices for summer, but they can help out in the winter too. Clockwise rotation produces warmer air so make sure your ceiling fans move in that direction. The fan will push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. Using ceiling fans in winter will cut your heating costs by 10%, according to The Daily Green.
Lower Your Thermostat
You can save a lot of energy by setting or programming your thermostat lower when you don’t need heat. Try turning it down to 50 or 55 degrees when you go to bed or when you go to work. For every degree you lower the thermostat during heating season, you’ll save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
Lower Water Heater Temperature
Conventional water heaters are typically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but most households only need a setting of 120 degrees. Lowering the temperature will reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent. Keep your water heater functioning at pack performance by flushing out particles and sediment through the drain valve. Over time that material can collect in the bottom of your water heater, hindering efficiency. If you are in the market for a new water heater, take advantage of the federal tax credit, which pays 30 percent of cost with no upper limit.