|With the arrival of fall just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about the upcoming winter season and the possible ways that you might be able to save energy and cut your family’s heating bills this summer.As we all know, no matter our location, the opportunity to save money in such a tough time is worth every ounce of effort we can put into it and, fortunately, when it comes to lowering our heating bills, that often simultaneously means helping the environment with less energy used.
So, for those of you who could use some tips and advice, below is a list with some of the top ways to get your home and your family ready to save both energy and money.
Changes Within the Home
For starters, there are many things within the home that you can do in order to help keep in heat and ensure that your home “feels” as warm as it possibly can.
1. Check Your Fans. If you have a newer model of ceiling fan in your home, you should check to see if you can switch the direction in which the blades are rotating. If they are rotating counter clockwise, they will be providing you with cooler air (great for summer, not for winter). Make sure that the fan is running in reverse during the cool months, this will make your air warmer by pulling in the hot air that pools in the center of the ceiling.
2. Consider Programmable Thermostats. While you may think you have a stellar memory, when it comes to running the heater unnecessarily, it’s best not to leave it to our non-perfect memories. Nothing is easier than getting flustered first thing in the morning and dashing out the door without turning down the thermostat. This just means paying to heat a home all day without anyone in it.. A programmable thermostat can be set to turn off every day while you’re out, turn on right before you get home for the day and then automatically turn back down around bed time.
3. Eliminate Draft. It sounds simple (and it is!) but it can also make a big difference. Keep your precious heat in by blocking off all areas with potential draft. This is as easy as sticking old towels in front of doors.
4. Cover Windows. If you’re really serious about maintaining heat in your home, pick up some storm window covers. You can easily put these up yourself and you’ll help keep the cold air out and warm air in. They are very inexpensive to buy.
5. Make Sure Filters Are Changed. When your filters become dirty, the air flow becomes restricted, meaning more energy is necessary to push it through. Start the winter season with fresh filters and then change them monthly when they are in constant use.
6. Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature. Most water heaters are set to around 140 degrees but you an easily turn yours down to around 120 degrees and you really shouldn’t notice much difference. However, you will notice around a 6-10% cut in your cost!
7. Switch Out Light Bulbs. Because the sun sets earlier in the winter, it’s only natural that we have our lights on much more. Change out all old bulbs for energy efficient ones.
8. Use a Humidifier. Moist air actually “feels” warmer. While this is miserable in the summer, it can be helpful in the winter. By running a humidifier in your home and increasing the moisture levels, you will actually feel warmer without having to turn up the heater. You may even notice enough of a difference that you’ll be able to turn your thermostat down a couple degrees.
|Purchases to Consider|
Summer is actually the best time to make your winter/heater related purchases. Most warehouses are anxious to clear out last year’s models and products and are desperate to make room for the new ones coming in and of course, as demand increases in winter when most people start to think about winterizing, companies will naturally increase their prices, knowing people will pay any price. So, if there are any items listed below that you may be in need of, the end of summer/beginning of fall is the best time to purchase.
1. Furnace/Boiler. If your furnace/boiler is quite old, it may make more sense financially, as well as environmentally, to upgrade to a more efficient model. Higher rated efficient models will save you money all winter long.
2. Room Heaters. Having a room heater or two can be a wonderful way to save yourself heating cost. You can turn off the central heating system altogether and just use a room heater in the room you’re in, which is perfect for working in a home office for 8 hours or for a bedroom while you are sleeping all night. Additionally, a room heater can be used to increase a room’s overall temperature by a couple degrees, cheaper and more efficiently than turning on the central system up a few degrees.
3. Propane. Fill your propane tank completely full now, not during the winter when the price per gallon will almost certainly have increased.
4. De-Icers and Sand. These are just two more items highly recommended to stock up on now before they undergo price rises with the arrival of winter.
Andrew writes – “May I point out whilst it important to preserve the warmth you must not over insulate your home and should always allow for adequate ventilation”