As beautiful as the winter months can be, they come with some disadvantages. The temperatures decrease, and our heating bills increase. You can do several easy things in your home to lower your heat bill and save money on your energy bills all year. Here are some ways you can save money on your energy bills.
Seal Up Air Leaks
You can save money on your energy bills by hundreds of dollars each year if you search for air leaks. Check the walls, windows, light fixtures, ceilings, doors, outlets, and switches for any escaping air. Holes, gaps, and weather stripping that is deteriorating may be the cause. If you are uncertain, light a candle and hold the flame near the windows. If you see the flame flicker, it means there is a leak.
Program the Thermostat
Making changes to the thermostat can also help you save money on your energy bills. Your heating bill will drop by as much as 10% a year if you lower your thermostat by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day. If you are gone for the entire day or weekend, make sure you turn down the thermostat.
Investing in a smart thermostat can make your life a lot easier. You can program it to make the changes for you. Some will allow you to control it from an app. It is surprisingly affordable, and you will save money on your energy bills in the long run.
Let the Sunshine In
When the sun is out, open the drapes or window blinds and let in the sunlight and Vitamin D. The sunlight coming through the windows can provide heat the old-fashioned way. If the house is already warm, the heat will not turn on. Do not forget to cover the windows at night to keep the cold air out once the sun goes down. This method will help save money on your energy bills without costing a cent.
Keep Doors to Unused Rooms Closed
If you have a room that you do not use during the day, you can save money on your energy bills by keeping the doors shut. Just as turning off the lights in a room saves money on your electric bill, closing the door when you leave a room lowers your heat bill. With the door closed, the heat will stay in the room, so your HVAC system will not have to pump out heat continually. This is another excellent but straightforward way to save money on your energy bills.
Get a Furnace Tune Up
A furnace tune-up can be compared to making an oil change in your car or having a physical at the doctor’s office. The goal is to make sure that everything is working as it should. All of the components of the furnace will be examined, and routine maintenance will be performed, with changes or repairs as needed.
Having your furnace routinely inspected and maintained will help with indoor air quality and keep the furnace running efficiently, which will save money on your energy bills. Also, change your furnace filter regularly to keep it running efficiently.
Heating oil is a petroleum product or other oil used for furnaces or boilers. The Federal Energy Information Administration reports that the average American homeowner will pay on average about $750 to heat their home with gas from October 1 through March 31. But if you use oil heat, you will spend $2,500 on average to heat your home. So considering heating oil prices, is it time to consider having a gas furnace installed?
Use Insulating Curtains, Shades, and Blinds
As there is much heat loss through the windows, using energy-efficient window coverings can reduce heat loss by 30%. For example, creating a barrier in front of the windows using blackout blinds, offers a secondary benefit of energy savings through thermal insulation.
If you prefer curtains, use tightly woven cotton or natural fibers such as muslin. The higher the thread count, the better. Fabrics that work well for double-hung insulating curtains are mohair, wool, and heavy silk. This helps to reduce the amount of heat and light coming through the curtains. Synthetic fabrics, when blended with polypropylene, are good insulators.
If after you have replaced your window shades with energy-efficient coverings and you find you still don’t have the energy efficiency you desire, you may need to consider replacement windows. To save money on your energy bills, energy-efficient windows can be installed made with composite, fiberglass, vinyl, or wood. High-quality frame materials will reduce heat transfer and provide insulation to the windows leading to better and more efficient heating and cooling in your home.
Another way to save money on your energy bills is by adding insulation to the attic. When adding more insulation, you do not need to use the same type currently in your attic. You can add loose fill on top of fiberglass batts. When using fiberglass over loose-fill, it will need to be “unfaced,” making sure there is no paper or foil backing on the fiberglass batt. If you choose to add loose-fill, it is recommended that you hire a professional. The application requires the use of a blowing machine, and while some home improvement stores offer them for rent, it is safer to leave it to a professional.
There are three types of insulation:
- Batts – large pieces of insulation you see between the studs in your wall. Batt insulation provides a strong barrier along the edges of your roof or attic, whether fiberglass or cotton. But it does leave gaps in coverage that can hinder its energy efficiency.
- Blown – comes out as chunks of fiberglass or cellulose. It does a more complete job of filling every crevice of the attic. With an entire layer of insulation throughout the attic, you will save money on your energy bills, both heating and cooling, compared to batts installation.
- Spray foam – unlike blown-in insulation, spray form is applied to the underside of the roof as opposed to the floor of the attic. While it may provide additional storage space, proper attic ventilation becomes a problem. The objective should be to have an appropriate ventilation system according to FHA guidelines along with your insulation. That will not happen with spray foam insulation.
If you are going to spend money adding insulation to your attic, why not check to ensure you don’t need roofing repairs. Often the roof is the last thing we think about until there is a leak, missing shingles, or some other maintenance issue.
If you decide to replace your roof, it is the perfect time to upgrade the insulation. It is like doing two renovations instead of one.
What type of shingles offer the most energy-efficiency to save money on your energy bills? Regardless of the roofing shingle you decide to use, the first thing to look for is whether it is rated as “Energy Star” roofing. The “Energy Star” rating guarantees that the materials are actually energy-efficient.
The asphalt shingle provides the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and low maintenance roof. The homeowner has a wide variety of choices when it comes to colors and designs. One of the drawbacks associated with asphalt shingles is that they are more vulnerable to damage caused by high winds or storms.
The shake shingle is very durable and able to tolerate strong winds and storms with very little damage. They are energy-efficient because they improve air circulation throughout the home. They are beautiful to look at, particularly as the wood begins to mature. Many homeowners choose shake shingles based solely on their beauty. But there is a significant drawback of shake shingles in the maintenance that is required. Wood rot and mildew can cause issues, especially in areas that are humid or receive much precipitation.
Slate or tile roofing is another highly attractive roofing material that offers energy-efficiency which will last your entire life. The density of these roofs helps to insulate your home, which makes it an eco-friendly choice and saves money on your energy bills. Tile roofs are aesthetically pleasing but more suitable for warm and dry climates, as they tend to absorb moisture and reflect sunlight.
Engineered wood that has a foam base tends to be the most energy-efficient flooring option. Another good option is natural stone. It is thick and strong and forms an actual barrier, helping you stay comfortable on hot days and cold nights. Stone and tile are eco-friendly because they are natural and will help save money on your energy bills.
A plush carpet and thick padding can help to insulate your home from the cold foundation underneath. Stepping out of bed in the morning onto a plush carpet is better than stepping on a cold floor.
Wood floors are hard to beat for energy efficiency. They are another natural product, have a tough exterior, absorb heat well, and keep heat from penetrating the home. The result being wood floors help homes stay warm during the winter months and cooler during the summer months. Heat can rise through gaps in a poorly installed subfloor and the floor covering, so be sure to hire an experienced professional to install your wood flooring. There are two types of radiant heat for floors, electric and water-based systems. Both provide a significant way to save money on your energy bills. Again, leave it to a professional to do the installation for you.
Invest in a New Garage Door
Typically, most of us don’t heat our garages. But those who have workshops in their garages, work on their automobiles or have a hobby space in the garage need a heat source. An insulated garage door makes the most difference in homes that have attached garages. Purchasing an insulated garage door can help save money on your energy bills. By moderating the garage’s temperature, you are reducing the amount of heat required to heat the rest of the home.
If you are considering the purchase of a new garage door, realize that aluminum garage doors share many of the same characteristics as steel doors. Aluminum is a lighter metal, however, and therefore less expensive. So consider an aluminum door if replacing your garage door is something you are considering. Garage door contractors can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your new garage door.
What About Your Fireplace?
A beautiful wood-burning fireplace adds a nice warm, romantic glow to any room. But the reality is that a beautiful fireplace draws more heat out of a home than it adds. If you are doing a renovation or considering the purchase of a new home and want to save money on your energy bills, purchase one with a gas or electric fireplace.
For a more realistic look, a gas fireplace is the better choice. The flame of an electric fireplace will never look like the real thing. But based on the national average, an electric fireplace will cost around 18 cents per hour to run with all settings at maximum. Contact your local electrician to discuss the advantages of an electric fireplace.
Saving money on energy costs is something we all want. There are many common-sense ideas we can put into action to ensure we don’t have to spend money needlessly. For example, ensure that the water pipes in the basement do not become frozen, ensure that your sump pump is in good repair, and guard against sewer backups. Emergency plumbing services can handle these emergencies, but don’t let them happen in the first place. Spend your hard-earned money on things that will help you save money on your energy bills.