Whether we like it or not, the cold weather months are just a stone’s throw away now. While some are looking forward to plush blankets, fuzzy socks, and cozy sweaters, others are dreading the bills they will receive once they have to turn the heater on.
It can feel like a frustrating game with no end in sight, trying to reduce your carbon footprint, conserve energy, and save a little money in the winter months, especially when your home is working against you. Fortunately, by planning ahead, there are many ways that you can make your home more efficient. With a few tips and tricks, and some regular maintenance, you will not only find yourself saving on your monthly energy bills, but spending less on replacing and repairing broken equipment. Here are some easy ways that you can reduce your wasted energy and be more efficient this winter.
Turning off your lights when you leave the home might be a no-brainer by now. There is no sense wasting electricity and paying for something that you do not even use. However, are you remembering to turn your lights off as you leave each room during the day? Many of us get into the habit of leaving lights on in different rooms, even when we are not occupying them. By increasing our mindfulness about how leaving our lights on consumes energy, we can save on bills and extend the life of our lightbulbs.
In order to keep your furnace working in tip top shape, and remaining as energy efficient as possible, there is one simple solution: maintenance. While replacing the filter every three months is an excellent first step, furnaces should be serviced by a professional annually. The service person will clean the parts that are not easily accessible to ensure it is working properly and as efficiently as possible. This simple task ultimately prolongs the lifespan of the equipment and saves you money month-to-month.
If you haven’t already hopped on the LED train, take this as a persuasive push to do so. LED lights may be more expensive than other types of light bulbs, but they have a very long life-span and reduce your energy consumption. LED lights have a heat sink built into the fixture that dissipates heat, which allows for more of the energy to be converted into light and less wasted. It also takes fewer lights to illuminate your space, meaning you won’t be running out to purchase them as frequently as other iridescent or halogen light bulbs, which actually produce way more heat than they do light.
The most critical part of keeping your home comfortable and your energy bill down is ensuring an airtight seal around your doors and windows. Depending on their age and condition, you may notice a slight draft that changes the temperature in your home and ultimately makes your furnace pump into overdrive. An excellent door sweep and weather stripping installed on each window frame or door edge is an extra bit of insulation to keep the home temperature controlled, while allowing your overall energy efficiency to increase dramatically.
If your windows and doors are quite worn and these remedies do not provide an effective solution, it may be time to look into making a replacement. While the cost will be higher up front, you will benefit in the long term by upgrading the value of your home, and decreasing your monthly electric bills.
It is time to get smart with your home in terms of saving energy. Investing in a smart thermostat, automated lighting systems, and smart appliances can drastically reduce how much energy you consume and optimize the ways in which you consume it. These technologies have the ability to learn your routine, can detect when you are home or not, and allow you to schedule them to work according to your needs. A smart thermostat alone can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 15%. Many of these systems can additionally be accessed through an application on your smartphone, allowing you to control their functions from anywhere.
Your home is a place where you should feel safe, happy and comfortable. By being in more control over how you use energy in your life, you can help to curb any surprises on your monthly bills and keep maintenance costs to a minimum. While being more energy efficient may require a bit of cash upfront, in the long run you can feel good living economically and enjoying your home to the fullest.