Sealing air leaks can help you save energy and money this winter. | Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Winter is here and so are the miserable utility bills associated with endlessly heating your home. Heating and cooling your home can account for as much as 48% of your utility bills. Fortunately, there is a host of ways to combat Old Man Winter. Below you’ll find a list of energy efficient ideas to keep you and your family warm this season, whether you live in a house or an apartment.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you haven’t already, installing a programmable thermostat is a very easy way to make sure temperatures in the home fluctuate correctly based on the schedule of inhabitants. Remember, HVAC systems heat people, not rooms. Be sure to program your thermostat to cut back 10 to 15 degrees when people aren’t home during the day. Turning back your thermostat for 8 hours can save as much at 10% a year on your heating bill.
Perform an Air Leak Test
Leaks in windows and doors are one of the biggest culprits to a chilly household. If you feel a draft, the first step in sealing it is to find the source of the leak. One of the easiest methods to do this is a simple air leak test using a match or incense sick. To do perform this test, attempt the following on a windy day or while all exhaust vents are blowing.
- First, close all your windows and doors.
- Secondly, with all safety precautions in mind, light an incense stick or a match and pass it by windows and doors. If the smoke is sucked out of the room or blown into the room, you found an air leak in your home.
- Seal any leaks with this DIY project on how to seal air leaks with caulk or this handy guide on weatherstripping.
Free Up Blocked Vents
Winter time can mean extra furniture: additional chairs for relatives visiting or holiday decorations. Be sure your furniture and décor are not blocking heating registers. This will allow air to circulate more freely and save energy.
Winter may mean colder weather is here, but it doesn't have to drain your wallet. For more tips on saving money this winter see Energy Saver's winter energy-saving tips.