The holiday season is almost over and now it’s time to hunker down and brace ourselves for the coldest months ahead of us in Northeast Ohio. Heating costs can be a burden on our budgets, and with the economy still recovering from the effects of inflation, many of us are looking for ways to save on household expenses. But don't worry, there are simple steps you can take to lower your bills and save money this winter. Here are seven ways to help with energy efficiency:
1. Turn down your water heater.
Did you know that your water heater can account for up to 18% of your home's energy use? By turning it down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you can save energy and money because there is less energy used to maintain the temperature at a higher degree.
Not sure how to adjust your water heater? It's usually a simple process. Just locate the thermostat on your water heater (it's usually near the bottom) and turn it to the desired temperature. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always contact a local plumber or handyman to help.
2. Change furnace filters.
Dirty furnace filters can restrict airflow, making your furnace work harder and use more energy. By changing your filters every month or so, you can improve your furnace's efficiency and save on energy costs.
Not sure how to change your furnace filters? It's a simple process that you can do yourself. Just locate the filter compartment (usually located near the furnace or in the air return duct), remove the old filter, and replace it with a new one. If you're not sure what kind of filter to buy, your local home improvement store should have a wide selection to choose from. If you haven’t yet had a professional out to do HVAC maintenance, this is also a wonderful time to do so.
3. Adjust your thermostat.
A programmable thermostat can help you save on energy costs by automatically adjusting the temperature in your home based on your schedule. By setting your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and turning it down when you're not home, you can save on energy costs. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, you can still save money by manually adjusting the temperature in your home. Just remember to turn down the thermostat when you're not home or when you're sleeping, and turn it up when you're awake and active. You could also opt to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees when you are home and dress warmer. This will definitely help you cut back on your heating bill.
4. Close unused vents.
Closing heating vents in the winter can help you save on your heating costs by allowing you to redirect the flow of heated air to the rooms that you are using the most. When you close the vents in unused rooms, you can prevent heated air from being wasted in those spaces, which can help to reduce the overall amount of energy that your heating system consumes.
To close your vents, just locate the vent covers (usually located on the walls or floors) and slide them shut.
5. Close doors in unused rooms.
When you shut the door in a room you do not use, the heat hangs out in that room. No need to keep reheating a room you’re never in! By closing the doors to unused rooms, you can also create a more efficient "circuit" for the heated air to flow through your home. This will help your heating system work more efficiently and save you money on your energy bills. Just remember to open the doors when you need to use the room, and close them again when you're finished.
6. Reverse ceiling fans.
Did you know that your ceiling fan can help you save on energy costs in the winter? By reversing the direction of your fan so that it spins clockwise, it can push warm air down into the room and help keep your home warm.
To reverse your ceiling fan, locate the switch on the base of the fan (it's usually near the top) and flip it to the opposite direction.
7. Adjust drapes and blinds.
During the day allow the natural sunlight to shine through your home which will give you some additional “free” heat! When you open the drapes and blinds on windows that receive direct sunlight during the day, you can allow the sun's rays to enter your home and help to warm it naturally. This can help to reduce the overall demand on your heating system, which can translate into lower energy bills. Once the sun sets, close drapes and blinds to help keep the warm air in. This creates an extra layer of insulation around your windows, which can help to reduce heat loss and keep your home warmer.
Winter can be a particularly expensive time of year when it comes to energy costs, but by following these simple steps on energy saving, you can lower your heating and electricity bills this winter and save money on energy costs. If you need a little extra help with any home repairs or upgrades, such as installing a new furnace, roof, or windows, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I am happy to connect you with a trusted professional who can provide the expertise and services you need to get the job done right.