Practical Ways to Decrease Your Energy Bill This Winter
Your home is a safe haven where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the world. When it’s cold outside, keeping a toasty temperature inside helps ensure your comfort. But maintaining a warm climate indoors when it’s below freezing outdoors isn’t cheap. You may find your utility bills climb in winter, as you are forced to spend more money on electricity. In fact, according to Nationwide, the average American family spends $2,060 per year on their utility bills. If you want to cut down on this expense, there are steps you can take; it’s all about making your property energy-efficient.
Close Off Rooms You Don’t Use
If you have a larger home, odds are you don’t use all the rooms regularly. For example, studies show that the kitchenis the most commonly used room in the house — a place where the whole family gathers to cook, eat, and talk. Rooms you may use less often include a home office, rec room, laundry room, or guest bedroom. As such, there’s no need to waste money heating these areas when you aren’t using them on a regular basis. Keep the doors to these spaces closed and shut the vents that funnel heat into them so that the heat is pushed into other rooms of the home you are using. You can also add draft stoppers to keep cold air from the unheated rooms from entering the rest of the home.
Make the Most of Sunlight
Sunlight is a source of natural heat that can help keep your space warm. To help cut heating costs, open south-facing windows on bright days This lets natural heat in, reducing the burden on your heating system. You can make the most of this trick by adding more windows and skylights to your property, maximizing the amount of sunlight that comes in. Energy-efficient windows with dual or triple panes will help cut energy bills. These windows consist of multiple panes of glass with space between them, creating a space where energy-efficient gases can be inserted during the manufacturing process.
Have Your Furnace Inspected
Regular furnace inspections prolong the life of your system and prevent unexpected breakdowns that can leave you feeling frigid in winter. HVAC experts report that 75 percent of “no heat” emergency calls in winter are linked to a lack of maintenance. You don’t want this to happen to you! So, schedule an annual inspection in the fall, before your furnace kicks into high gear for the winter. A well-functioning furnace is also more efficient and will save you money. For an additional benefit, have a programmable thermostat installed, which will save you up to 10 percent on energy bills.
Boost Your Home’s Insulation
Insulation reduces heat exchange through outdoors-facing surfaces of the home, such as the walls and roof. It keeps cold air from getting in and warm air from getting out. A better-insulated home will save you energy costs. If your insulation is old, upgrading it can help. Parts of the home that benefit from insulation include the attic, walls, ductwork, foundation, basement, and crawlspace. Seal and insulate areas around ducts to prevent air leaks. To save you even more, the Insulation Institute details what incentives are available to cut insulation costs. For example, the IRS offers an energy efficiency tax credit for qualified home improvements. The ReHome Loan program, which offers an unsecured line of credit for energy-efficient renovations, is also an option.
Take these steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency. The investments you make will save you money in the long run as you cut down on electric bills; plus, you’ll find it easier than ever to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. This ensures that you’ll stay toasty even when winter temperatures are dropping.
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