It’s that time of year when the reading on the thermometer goes down and your home energy consumption—and utility bill—goes up. Here are six suggestions to help you keep a lid on energy consumption and cost this winter.
1. Take advantage of free energy.
Open the curtains or blinds on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Then close them at night to prevent heat loss.
2. Use a programmable thermostat to control heating costs.
Turn your thermostat down 10° to 15° when you’re not at home. Reducing the heat for eight hours can shave 10 percent off your bill.
3. Make sure your heating system is running efficiently.
It’s a good idea to service your furnace yearly to make sure it’s running properly and not wasting energy. Check your furnace filters monthly and change them as needed.
4. Reduce the heat loss from your fireplace.
There’s nothing quite like a fire on a cold winter day, but keep your damper closed when there’s no fire burning. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that will blow warmed air back into the room. If you don’t use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
5. Turn down your water heater.
According to energy.gov heating water for you home can account for 14 to 25 percent of all the energy you consume! By turning water temperature settings down to 120 degrees, you’ll save—and you won’t run the risk of scalding yourself.
6. Make the switch to LED holiday lights.
LED (Light-emitting-diode) lights are much cooler than incandescent lights. There’s less risk of fire, they last longer (up to 40 years!), and they don’t break as easily. Plus they use a lot less energy. When lighting a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days, conventional bulbs will use about $10 in electricity. Lighting the same tree with LEDs costs about 27¢!
One thing to bear in mind is that newer homes are much more energy-efficient than older homes. Everything from the materials used, to the windows, appliances, HVAC systems, and even the insulation does a better job of keeping the warmth inside and the cold outside. Country Classics homes at Belle Mead, Hillsborough, or Fox Brook at Montgomery all take advantage of the latest energy-efficient designs.