Easy energy saving tips will save you money and keep you warm this season!
I get asked a lot about energy conservation, especially ways that don’t cost much money.
Maybe the big re-insulating project isn’t in your budget at the moment. That’s OK. There are some very simple, inexpensive things you can do to improve energy efficiency – by not wasting heat – in your house right now.
Like this very minute!
These energy conservation measures cost very little and will pay you back in no time. You’ll actually save money for years to come.
Here are some simple but effective strategies for saving energy and cash. What to do with that savings? Why, splurge on some super-healthy food, of course!
Energy Saving Tips: Dress for the Cold!
This might seem basic, but I see people making this expensive mistake all the time. If your family is running around in thin cotton shirts in the depths of winter, of course you’ll have the heat up higher.
Try adding a cozy sweater and some pants with a little heft. I’m particularly fond of polar fleece, but sweats and velour also work noticeably better than jeans or other thin cotton.
Seriously, try it and dial your thermostat back. You’ll be shocked what a difference a warm layer makes. You’ll find everyone’s comfortable with the house several degrees cooler.
Every 3 degrees you turn down the thermostat should save you 10% on your heating bill. If your bill is $300 per month, that could be $100 or more in your pocket every season!
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Energy Saving Tips: Insulate Electrical Outlets
Experts estimate that 20% of home heat loss is through our electrical outlets. For a few bucks you can grab some foam sealers that fit behind your outlet and switch plates, as well as some of those outlet covers meant to protect toddlers from sticking their fingers in the sockets.
We had a home energy audit with a blower-door test, and we could feel the air coming in from the uncovered outlets. Covering them may save you hundreds every year. Keep them on in summer, and you’ll save on cooling, too.
Energy Saving Tips: Use Thermal Curtains and Close Them at Night
Here in Minnesota, -20 overnight temps are not uncommon. We have thermal curtains that we pull closed at night to keep our heat in. You can use them alone or under more decorative panels if you prefer. Bonus: Some can double as light-blocking curtains in kids’ room. Open them when the sun is out to take advantage of solar heat gain.
If you don’t have new windows or storms, consider some of that shrink wrap plastic to keep out drafts. We cover up some underperforming windows we have each year and it makes a huge difference.
Other energy saving tips:
Skip the Christmas lights. Decorate with things that don’t require energy, especially items you already own or find in your yard (pine cones, greenery, e.g.). Or at least put them on a timer rather than leaving them on 24/7. Look for LED bulbs if you’re buying new ones. (And don’t be that family that leaves them lit up through February!)
Get an energy audit. For a nominal fee, most utility companies will send you a certified energy auditor, who can investigate the numerous ways your home can be made more energy-efficient. This can be an incredibly educational experience (how I learned about outlet covers!), and will pay for itself many times over. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you some free CFL lightbulbs and maybe even seal up some of the air leaks they find for free. Check your utility’s website to see if they have a program in place.
Here are more ways to save on heating this season.
What steps have you taken to save energy? Share in the comments!
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Photo credits: Liz West, auntjojo via Flickr