Winter Energy-Saving Tips
Winter can be a busy time of year, with clean-up chores, getting the kids settled in school and the holidays fast approaching. If you can add just a couple of energy-saving activities to your winter to-do list, chances are it will pay off big for you and your family…and the environment, too.
Consider taking these steps to lower your bills this winter:
- Weatherize your home. One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bills is to caulk, seal and weather-strip all of the cracks to the outside. You can save 10 percent or more on your home energy bill by stopping air leaks alone. Insulating your home is like wrapping it in a nice, warm blanket, but air can still leak in or out through small cracks — and often, a small leak can have the same effect as leaving a door wide open! For more information, check out the Department of Energy’s site on Home Weatherization.
- Use a programmable thermostat. You can save even more on your home energy bill by programming your thermostat to change the temperature when you’re not using it. If you’re not using certain rooms during the day, or if you’re gone all day at work, then it’s a no-brainer: a programmable thermostat saves you money and reduces your energy use and related carbon dioxide emissions.
- Check the lights. Now that it’s winter, the days are getting shorter and you will likely turn on your lights a little earlier. Energy for lighting accounts for about 6% of the average household electric bill. Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs can yield significant energy savings. Other tips: use lower-wattage bulbs or turn off the lights wherever you can.
- Get paid to save. If you’re considering a home improvement project this winter, from installing a new ceiling fan to putting in a geothermal heat pump, make sure you take advantage of all available tax rebates and incentives. The ENERGY STAR program lets you look up the product you’re planning to buy, enter your zip code and find out what special offers are available in your area.
The average U.S. family spends almost $2,200 a year on utility bills. By taking these and other simple steps to reduce your energy bill this winter, you can save money for more important things. Holiday shopping, anyone?