Fast and Free: 10 Surprising Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill This Winter

window-564287Winter is the time for holiday get-togethers, baking, snuggling, and other time honored traditions. But it is also that time of year when we typically get some bad news in the mail; a rise in our home heating costs. Have no fear, we have collected some really easy ways that you can lower your energy costs right now! All without breaking the bank.

#1 Let it shine.

Take advantage of the sunshine while you have it. Be sure to open your drapes, blinds, or any other window coverings and allow the sun to heat your home. For free we might add. Just be sure to close them again at sundown to help keep your house insulated.

#2 Use your fan.

Yes, you read that right. We typically think of using cleaning fans in warm weather to provide a cool breeze. But during the winter you can have the same fan help keep your house warm. Simple reverse the fans direction (usually done by a switch on the fan unit) and keep it at a low speed. The blades will create an updraft and help move hot air downward towards your living space.

#3 Don’t start the fire.

Although we think of winter as a time to gather around the fireplace, traditional fireplaces are energy zappers. They pull heated air up the chimney and out of the house. If you do use your fireplace in the winter, be sure that the damper is completely close when not in use. If you are not using it, consider blocking it off completely with a piece of rigid insulation.

#4 Turn down the thermostat.

Although it seems obvious, it is one of the biggest things you can do to lower you heating bill. We are not suggesting freezing temperatures, but maintaining 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day could lower you bill by up to 5%.

#5 Shorter showers.

Astoundingly showers can account for one-third of your overall heating costs. Reduce the amount of time each family member is in the shower by a few minutes. You will save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month and of course a little $$$.

#6 Lock it up.

Have you ever noticed that when you lock your windows they often push more tightly together? That little space can make a difference on your heating bill. Even closed doors and windows may not be pressed tight enough against the weather stripping. Keep them locked when not in use.

#7 Keep Clear.

If you have heating registers in your house the hot air needs room to blow. Make sure there is a clear path around them. Furniture or other obstructions can limit the airflow. Rearrange your room to make it as free (air) flowing as possible.

#8 Shut it down.

You probably don’t think about electronics, like your computer, when we talk energy bills. But computers and monitors do use up energy. Be sure to place your computer in “Energy Saver” mode which will utilize less power when not in use. Or simply shut it down completely.

#9 Be efficient.

All of the appliances in your house are potential energy wasters. It’s all in how you use them. For your dishwasher and clothes washer be sure to use them only with full loads. Washing with cold water can also reduce the energy usage by ¾.

#10 Look to the lights.

Using LED holiday string lights can reduce holiday decorating costs dramatically. If you do not have LED lights or even if you do, putting your lights on a timer will ensure they are only in use when needed. Or simply unplug them before you go to bed.

Saving energy this winter is probably one of the easiest things you can do! But, if you think you might need a little more than these 10 tips, give us a call. We specialize in window and door replacements, and general contracting services that will help you stay warm and save you money.