Most of us would like to stay warm and cozy during the cold winter months, but nobody in their right mind wants to pay an arm and a leg for the comfort and convenience that comes from cranking up the thermostat. In short, you may be looking for a few ways to get the heat you want this winter without selling your soul in the process. And it turns out that there are myriad ways to cut your carbon footprint, make your home more energy efficient, and save some money, to boot, even as you keep your home interior and your family nice and warm. Here are just a few energy efficient heating tips to employ in your home this winter.
- Program your thermostat. You might not see the need to upgrade from your old-school, dial thermostat to a fancy digital version that comes with programming options. But when you discover just how much this small piece of machinery can impact your heating bill you might sing a different tune. It turns out that programming your thermostat to adjust the temperature for your schedule can make your home function far more efficiently. This is because it drops the temperature while your family is at work and school and then slowly brings it back up before you return. As a result, your system conserves energy.
- Seal leaks. When you call in a pro to perform a home energy audit, you’ll get a report that details the areas in your home where energy waste is occurring. Often, your bought air is seeping out around windows, doors, vents, and pipes, just for example. And when you know where the leaks are you can add weather stripping, caulk, foam, and other sealants to ensure an airtight structure that is a lot more energy efficient.
- Add insulation. Whether you’re blowing fill into the wall cavities, rolling out batting in the attic, or upgrading to double-paned windows (or simply adding storm windows), you’ll find that beefing up your insulation can increase energy efficiency and help you to cut the cost of heating your home.
- Plant a tree. While it’s a little late in the season to think about planting, what with frost on the lawn and snow on the way, you might want to consider the prospect for spring. The reason is that adding trees around your home can help you with utility bills during every season. In the summer, shade-giving trees can keep hot solar rays at bay, reducing your need for AC. And in winter gales they can act as a wind break, protecting your home from the coldest breezes. Of course, they’ll take a while to grow, but eventually they’ll give you the energy savings you seek.
- Inspect and maintain your HVAC system. If you’re trying to save money while making your home more energy efficient, you might wonder what to do before hiring an HVAC contractor. For one thing, you can probably change the filter in your furnace on your own. But with online tutorials or a lesson from your regular HVAC specialist, you can also learn to inspect, clean, and maintain your unit. Of course, there are likely to be repairs you can’t handle on your own, in which case you may have to call in a professional. But when your system is properly maintained with annual inspections you can ensure the best energy efficiency from your equipment.