During the long, cold winter months, it can be tempting to crank up the heat in your home so you stay toasty and warm. Unfortunately, turning up the heat can ultimately increase your energy use by a lot. This is especially true if you were one of the 9.26 million people who had a second home in 2017. But luckily, there are plenty of easy ways you can survive the cold winter months and lower your energy usage. So if you’re looking to reduce your energy use this winter, keep reading.
First, let’s start with your windows. Did you know that having proper draperies can reduce heat loss from a room by up to 10%? So if you have thin or no curtains at all, it may be time to invest in some heavy draperies. This way, you can add both aesthetics and warmth to your home. You should also check your windows for any air leaks — even the tiniest crack around your window can let heat out and increase your energy bill. In fact, heat loss around your windows can be responsible for almost 30% of your energy bill. Yikes. So make sure your windows are weather-proofed and properly sealed. Additionally, a poorly insulated attic accounts for about a quarter of a house’s heat loss. And in fact, a well-insulated home will cost, on average, 30% less to cool than one with inferior insulation. And lastly, it’s important to take advantage of the sunlight when you can. During the day when the sun is shining, let the natural light heat up areas of your home by opening the blinds and curtains. This can also help you get some good old Vitamin D that we so often lack during the winter months.
Along with improving your window situation, you may want to consider scheduling an HVAC inspection. You should have your air ducts cleaned every three to five years if you want your heating and cooling system to work at maximum efficiency. So if it’s been a while since you had your HVAC system serviced, now is the time to do so. An HVAC technician will clean and repair your system as needed, making it run more efficiently. But if your furnace is really old, replacing it may be the best way to go.
Speaking of heating and cooling, you should also invest in a programmable thermostat if you have yet to do so. Turning down your heat even just a few degrees can help drastically cut down on your energy use. So by installing a programmable thermostat, you won’t even have to think about adjusting the temperature. During the times when you’re sleeping or at work, your house will automatically be cooled down slightly. You don’t have to be uncomfortably cold or try to remember to turn the heat down before you leave the house. This is a convenient way to save on energy use.
And lastly, you should make use of your ceiling fans. While it may seem weird to turn the fan on when you’re trying to heat your home, if you switch the rotation of your ceiling fans you can actually save on heating. When the blade’s rotation is switched, it will help push the warm air that rises back down to the ground. So you can stay warmer and spend less on heating.
There are several easy ways to reduce your energy use this winter. So try out some of these energy-saving ideas while continuing to stay warm.