We just got an extra hour from Daylight Savings, but the weather only seems to be getting colder and darker. This is the season of hot chocolate and scarves. It can be tempting to crank up the heat in your homes to keep it toasty during these cold months, but your electrical bill will pay the price. This is the time for saving energy. Energy usage in the United States skyrockets during the months of extreme temperatures, this includes the hot days of the summer and the colder days of winter. According to gogreensolar.com, 47.3% of annual fossil fuel usage occurs in the winter months. That is a lot of energy in just a few months! Those who have gone solar, obviously make a huge difference in this energy consumption as they power much of their own energy. However, everyone can make some small changes to use less energy this winter. We understand the desire to be warm and cozy during this time of year. So here are ten tips that will keep you warm and save you energy.
Ten Tips for Saving Energy this Winter
1. Let the sun warm up your home - We love the sun and are already turning to it to produce energy for homes, so why not use the sun for heat? By opening the blinds of the windows that are facing the sun, the heat will come in and warm up the house. When the sun has gone down, close the blinds to trap the heat in.
2. Invest in insulation - A lot of warmth is lost because of poor insulation in the home. You can invest in some cheap insulation to better seal up the windows and doors in your house. This will keep the heat in and save you a lot in return.
3. Use LED lightbulbs - LED lightbulbs use less energy than regular light bulbs and will save you money as you require more lighting during the winter. You can also use LED lightbulbs as you decorate your homes for the holidays! Turn off lights in the parts of the house that aren’t being used, to save energy.
4. Only heat the rooms you use - If you have extra guest rooms or storage rooms that you don’t use, then save energy by closing the vents into those rooms. This way the rest of the house can warm up quicker and you won’t waste energy on those unused rooms. Also, if you won’t be home throughout the day or for the weekend, then turn the heat down. This way you won’t be paying to warm your empty house.
5. Bundle up to keep the thermostat down - Who doesn’t love sweaters, blankets and warm, fuzzy socks? Keep warm by using extra clothing or blankets (especially during the night). You will be able to save a lot of energy by keeping the house cooler. Keeping the thermostat down 10-15 degrees for eight hours, can save you 10% on your yearly costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
6. Unplug electronics – Did you know that your electrical devices that are plugged in are using up energy, even when you aren’t using them? By unplugging devices when you aren’t using them you can save energy and thus on your utility bill.
7. Lower your water heater – When you leave the house for vacation this holiday season, lower your water heater to the lowest setting. This is most effective if you are going to be away for three days or more.
8. Care for your heating systems – We rely on these systems to keep us warm, so we need to take care of them! Change your filters regularly. If your filter is clogged up, then your heating system will have to work harder. Have a professional come and do a quick check-up on your system. So it can be in its peak condition, saving energy this winter.
9. Use your fans wisely – Kitchen and bathroom fans take away smells and the hot air in the room. Use them sparingly in order to keep warm air inside. However, by putting your ceiling fans in reverse you can push the hot air down to you.
10. Use a space heater- Put a space heater in the room where your family is (such as the living room). Then turn down the thermostat. This will keep you warm and keep your heating costs down.
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