As I am navigating through the first few months of home-ownership, I have been a bit surprised by how expensive my energy bills have been the last couple months. Even having a brand-new house, it seems there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to creating an energy efficient home. I am not waiting around for the the Cash for Caulkers program to start – I need to get on it now!
So, I am getting ready to embark on an all out battle against our energy bills and I know the next couple months are going to be tough. It’s been a cold December, but January and February are always a bit more intense. But after doing some homework, I found a bunch of simple things that we can do to lower our bills this winter.
Even though I should have done this 2 months ago, I am going to basically treat this as my checklist of things to do to over the next couple weeks. Hope it helps!
Free ways to save on your energy bill this winter
- Whenever you leave the house or go to sleep, lower your thermostat down a bit. It has been said, “If you consistently set your thermostat back at night 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you may reduce your heating bill by 10-20 percent.”
- You can take this to the next level, by always keeping the thermostat lower and wearing warmer clothes around the house. I know one guy who keeps his house at 55 degrees during the winter. I can’t say I’d be into that, but I am sure his heating bill is a lot lower than mine!
- Lower the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees. If you have smaller children this could be a safety measure as well. 160 degree water coming out of your faucet can be a bit dangerous. Also, turn off the hot water heater when on vacation.
- Set your refrigerator temperature closer to 40 degrees and try to keep it as full as possible. When it is full it costs less to keep cool.
- Only run your dishwasher when it is full of dishes, rather than running it every night.
- When washing clothes, use warm or cold water and rinse with cold.
- Adjust your energy setting on your computers to go into sleep mode or power down quicker.
- Listen to your parents and turn off the lights when you aren’t using them!
- Rather than using the oven every time, use a toaster oven to cook smaller items.
- Close your fireplace damper when not in use.
Ways to cut your energy bill by spending a few bucks
- Get a Low Flow Showerhead. They are a lot better these days than they used to be and the one I just purchased feels like it sends out a lot more water than my previous one, but it actually uses quite a bit less.
- Open windows during the day – especially if they are south-facing. But close them up at night to keep the heat in.
- Install Foam Gaskets behind electric-outlet and switch-plate covers.
- Add or fix your weather stripping, door sweeps, and thresholds.
- Get a programmable thermostat and set it to be lower when you aren’t at home or are asleep.
- Buy caulk and seal all windows, doors, and any other areas where air leaks might be present.
- Replace your furnace air filters at least every 60 days. It will yield better air for your family to breathe and a more efficient furnace.
- For outdoor lighting use motion sensors or solar-powered.
- Add a hot-water heater blanket and hot water pipe insulation especially if in an unheated space.
- Insulate and seal air ducts in attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas.
- Increase attic insulation to R-38 (the current requirement for new homes).
- If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, you should probably consider replacing it. It will likely end up paying for itself with the energy savings.