As the temperatures drop, it can be tempting to crank up the heat to stay toasty. Heating accounts for the majority of the energy used in most homes and the cost can really add up. By making smart choices, you can help reduce pollution and keep your heating bills low. Here are a few tips:
Seal leaks: Locate places in your home where heat can escape. To find the source of a draft, light a stick of incense on a windy day, keeping track of where the smoke drifts. Common culprits include windows, electrical outlets, doors, and flues. Once you find a leak, repair it with exterior silicone caulk or insulation strips.
Let the sun shine in: Open your curtains during the day to let in the sun’s heat and close them at night to keep in the warmth.
Turn it down: When you are not at home turn your thermostat down, 65 degrees is a good start. When you are home, try lowering your thermostat a few degrees from where you normally keep it or put on a sweater rather than turning up the heat.
Circulate the heat: Use slow rotating fans to move heat from radiators or heaters around your rooms.
Close off rooms: Don’t heat unused areas of the home if it’s not necessary. Consider closing doors to spare bedrooms, closets, or the basement.
Watch those windows: Install clear plastic covers or inexpensive storm windows on your existing windows to reduce heat loss.
Maintenance matters: Replace your furnace filters regularly, and make sure all heating equipment is running efficiently before cold weather sets in. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators often. Make sure heating units are not blocked by furniture, rugs, or drapes.
Drop a few degrees: Turning down your home thermostat two degrees can save 24 kilowatt hours a month. Lowering your hot water heater by 10 degrees, while maintaining a minimum of least 120 degrees, can save 25 kilowatt hours a month while still enjoying all the hot water you need.
Wash with less water: Opt for a front loading washing machine as they use 50 percent less energy and one-third less water. Front load washers also remove far more water in the rinse cycle, helping save money by requiring less time in the dryer.