Having survived one of the hottest summers on record, you’re probably looking forward to cooler days. But winter can also be a real drain on your energy dollars if you’re not careful. So as you soak up the pleasures of autumn, take a few moments to prepare your home for the inevitable visit from Old Man Winter. Follow these guidelines so you can hang on to more of those hard-earned dollars.
One of the cheapest and most effective heaters is right outside your window: say hello to Mr. Sun. Make a habit of opening drapery on your south-facing windows during the day and let the sunlight warm things up for you. Just make sure to close your curtains at nighttime and on cloudy days to avoid the chill from those cold windows.
You might be surprised how much cooler your home can be without causing discomfort. Experiment by turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees and see if anyone in your family really notices. When you’re asleep or away from the house, turn down your thermostat. Dialing it back 10 to 15 degrees per day for eight hours can save 10% on annual heating bills. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, installing one can make this task a whole lot simpler and probably pay for itself within the first year.
Up to 25% of home energy bills go to heating water – before it goes down the drain. Turn your water temperature down to the “warm” setting (120º) and save money while reducing the risks of scalding someone. Also, close the damper when your fireplace is not being used. Leaving it open is like opening a window in the middle of winter. All that warm air you’re paying for goes right up the chimney.
There are a lot of ways you can save money when it gets colder. But few are easier – or more effective than these.