Temperatures are plummeting and thermostats are rising. Some homeowners might not be able to avoid it, but there are many ways you can cut your energy bill this season. From GreenerChoices.org, here are five low- and no-cost moves to help you save money, while staying comfortable and warm at the same time.
1. Add insulation. Adding insulation and weather stripping can slash your annual energy costs up to 30 percent by keeping out the cold and minimizing the stack effect. Start by sealing large gaps around the chimney, furnace flue, plumbing pipes, ductwork, light fixtures and soffits in your attic. Then lay insulation between attic-floor joists and on the hatch or door, or add more if it’s already there. Look for insulation that’s become dirty, a sign of air movement that reveals other gaps you must fill. Also insulate ducts running through the attic.
2. Seal up the leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping cracks and gaps around your home are some of the most cost-effective steps you can take to conserve heat. Focus on the attic, basement, windows and doorways. Also check near pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. When sealing leaks, use “no-VOC” or “low-VOC” caulking to minimize potentially harmful indoor gases.
3. Program thermostats for savings. Shave up to 20 percent off your heating costs by lowering the thermostat 5°F at night and 10°F during the day if no one is home. Most electronic setback thermostats let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Some automatically switch from heating to cooling, and many tell you when it’s time to change your furnace or air-conditioner filter.
4. Save money on hot water. Insulating hot-water pipes and lowering the temperature on your water heater from 130° to 120° can help you save up to 5 percent on your energy bills.
5. Shorten showers. Showers account for two-thirds of your water-heating costs, so even shaving off a few minutes can help. Replacing a showerhead that’s more than 12 years old with a low-flow model can save up to half the hot water used for showering.
By heeding the advice of these five tips, you can easily reduce your heating bills throughout the entire winter season.