Six Ways of Reducing Winter Energy Costs in Your Healthy Home
U.S. residents certainly aren’t new to the idea of reducing winter energy costs and saving energy. Here are some ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money this winter and for many winters to come.
Sealing Windows, Doors, and Vents
Cold air may be getting into your home around the sides of windows, doors, and vents. If you hold a piece of tissue paper near the frames inside on a windy day and the tissue flutters, you need to seal the window. Check out your local hardware store or on-line sources to get some weather-stripping.
Increasing Your Insulation
Insulating your attic can increase your home’s energy efficiency significantly. It’s also usually fairly easy to do. Consult with a professional or do your own research on adding insulation to an existing home so that you can begin saving and enjoy a warmer home.
Change Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling systems account for about 56% of the energy usage in a typical U.S. home. You can retrofit or you can replace your furnace or boiler, depending on the age of the system and how much each option costs. Be sure to check to see if there are rebates or other incentives available from your local power company or local government agency. New heating systems can achieve an efficiency of up to 97%.
Of course the easiest way to control your heating costs and reducing winter energy costs is to turn down your thermostat. Turning down the heat just a few degrees will make a big difference. Installing a programmable thermostat can also be a wise energy saving move. Program the temperature to be lower at night or when you are out of the house to save even more. Do remember that you will want to keep the humidity in your home at a comfortable and safe level so there is sometimes a balance you will need to achieve between heating and humidity control.
Energy Star Appliances and Electronics
Appliances account for about 20% of the energy usage in a typical U.S. home. If you are in the market to shop for new appliances you’ll want to look for the Energy Star label. Again, you’ll also want to check and see about rebates or incentives from your local government or power company – they often offer some pretty spectacular savings. You can learn more about Energy Star appliances at www.energystar.gov.
How About Water Heaters
Insulating or increasing the insulation on your water heater tank and pipes can decrease heat loss and lower your energy bills for a fraction of the price of replacing your water heater. Even so, you might consider actually replacing your water heater to reduce your energy costs if it is near the end of it’s life cycle. There are many energy-efficient water heaters available now including instant-heat and even heat-pump water heaters. Check into local rebates and incentives again for additional savings on replacing your water heater.
Solar panels typically have high upfront costs. Even-so going solar can provide clean and free energy for years to come. Check out the Solar Calculator to estimate the cost of installing solar panels and to see how long it might take for your investment in solar to pay you back.
There are continual upgrades to solar energy and if you are replacing a roof or building a new home you might want to check out some of the solar roofing materials like solar shingles that are now available. While some companies have stopped manufacturing solar shingles due to costs, the Tesla Solar Roof features a number of very beautiful solar tiles that help increase the value of your home. Check out the incentives that may be available in your state at Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®.
Energy usage and efficiency figures come from the Department of Energy. To learn more and to see more facts and tips on reducing winter energy costs, visit www.energysavers.gov.