Cooler weather , shorter days, and falling leaves don't have to go hand in hand with rising electric bills. There are several things you can do to get ready for winter and save money and energy.
- Air leaks in your home not only cause uncomfortable drafts but waste energy. Reducing air leaks could cut 10 % from an average household's monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are: floors, walls,ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets.
- Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows.
- Cover through-the-wall or window air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
- Close the fireplace damper when not in use. It's also a good time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
- Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in your attic, basement and outside walls.
- Don't block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free.
- Have your heating system serviced once a year by a certified technician.
- Regularly replace heating system filters, as often as every 30 days. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
- Shut the door and vents to unused rooms.
- Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when you are home and lower the temperature when you go to bed or when you are not home. This will ensure optimal home heating and save energy. For every degree you lower the thermostat you save about 2 % off your heating bill.
- A programmable thermostat can help tailor the temperature to your schedule.
- Use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant.
- If you have drafty windows, apply clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months to reduce air filtration.
- Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to to let in free heat from the sun. Close them at night to retain heat and keep the winter chill out of your home.
- A storm door, as well as storm windows,can add an extra barrier of protection from the cooler temperatures and winds.
- Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees F to save money on your energy bill. If you have children in the house, this is also a safety measure.
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.
- Use the energy saving setting on your dishwasher and washig machine. Run the machines with full loads. Wash clothes in cold water.
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Replace your most-used incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps, which use 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer. LED lamps offer similar savings and longer life.