How to Prepare for Fall/Winter Energy Conservation
|Photo by TBridget Mac|
Fall and winter are right around the corner and these seasons are notoriously synonymous with energy sucking and high bills. Outside of the normal turning down the thermostat and setting it on a timer, there are so many home improvements and easy tips that can help save some warmth, comfort, and peace of mind during the upcoming holiday season. So, fire up those lights and make your best pumpkin pie because eco-Santa Claus is coming to town.
The first step is wearing seasonally appropriate clothing to save on heating costs. Not that you have to wear coats and mittens inside, but wearing a tank top and shorts inside just so the heat can be cranked up is not the way to go. Being comfortable in a long sleeve shirt or sweater and pants or sweats is a much better option.
Trap in the Heat
Use the sun to heat your home and open up those blinds during the day, but be sure to close them at night. The house will heat up a few degrees while it’s light out, more than it would if blinds were covering the windows. Also, think about purchasing some weighty drapes. This helps to trap in the heat a bit better than sheer curtains. If there are cracks or spaces around windows, this will stop heat from escaping so quickly. Of course, covering any leaky areas around the window is also a good idea. This can be done by taping a plastic bag around the entire window or sealing the crack with tape or caulking.
If you want to really go the extra mile, check your attic and crawl space. Insulate your attic either by yourself with foam pads from the store or hire an insulation expert to spray foam insulation to trap in that much more heat. This will stop heat from escaping right through the framing at the top of your home. Make sure you look into eco-friendly options.
Lower Energy Usage
Take advantage of sleep time and out of the house time. Set your dial a few degrees back when you are sleeping or when you are out of the house. Some sites say to set the dial back by 10 - 15 degrees while sleeping or away from the home. However, others argue that doing so will cause your heater to work overtime when you arrive back home or wake up. I suggest just dialing back a few degrees instead.
Maintain furnaces and thermostats by having them checked frequently or at least tested by a professional before the cold season hits. Having to fix an entire unit after it breaks will be much costlier than paying for an annual tune-up.
Lower the temperature on your water heater. Some homeowners are not aware of this trick. If you check your water heater there is a knob on the outside that allows for higher water temperatures if necessary. This can usually be turned down and will work just as well as before. It may not get scaling hot right away, but nobody needs that anyway.
Buy energy efficient lights to lower costs on decorative holiday lights. There are energy saving lights available at most stores. That extra 2 or 3 dollars could save much more over the entire holiday season.
Trisha Miller is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan and is committed to an all-around eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle. You can follow her on Twitter @thatdangvegan and her blog (www.thatdangvegan.com)