With the price of oil on the rise – let’s be honest, with the price of everything on the rise – these simple strategies to help save energy in your home will help when having to make difficult decisions in your household budget. For this article, we’ll focus on strategies around heating your home.
Program Economical Thermostat Settings in Your House
One of the smartest strategies to help save energy in your home is lowering your thermostat when you go to sleep and when you’re away. Start with a comfortable setting of 68 F, then turn it down by 10 degrees on your way out. Save on your peace of mind, too, by installing a programmable energy-saving thermostat. Most are priced under $100 and will pay for themselves within one year of proper use. Learn more about programmable thermostats and their benefits from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Avoid the Draft with Weather Stripping on Your Doors and Windows
How many times have you walked by a closed window or exterior door and felt a tiny bit of air rush in? Those little bits add up to a lot of heat rushing out in the course of a year, and more during harsh winters. Covering them up is one of the best strategies to help save energy in your home. It’s also one of the least expensive.
A 10 foot roll of weather stripping costs under $10. For less than $50 or so, and within a couple of hours, you can avoid heating the outdoors. If even that’s too much—and let’s face it, it might be considering all the demands on our time and money—roll up a thick towel and press it against the door.
Clean or Replace Air Filters Regularly
Another one of the low-cost strategies to help save energy in your home is monitoring the wear and tear of your air filter. Do this throughout the year, not only during high-use seasons of summer and winter. A clogged filter will make your heating/cooling system work harder, so the roughly $20 to $50 you spend on a new filter is well worth it. You can avoid even this minimal expense by cleaning the filter frequently.
We all have them. Small piles of stuff accumulating throughout the house, on top of which is our great intention to put them away “someday.” If your pile is on top of or near a heater or register, someday has come. Unpack that box, file those papers, hang those clothes! At the very least, move them where they won’t block the heat from being distributed evenly. Keeping things tidy is not only one of the easiest strategies to help save energy in your home, it also saves effort in the long run.
Invest in Insulation That’s Good for Your House and Health
There are always going to be costly strategies to help save energy in your home. However, depending on how long you plan to stay where you are, they could pay for themselves over time.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra cash on hand, one of the most cost-effective strategies is to invest in proper insulation. If you still have home insulation used in the 1920s, it’s high time for you to upgrade!
Considering insulation is sealed in walls and ensconced in attics and crawl spaces, you might be surprised at how it can deteriorate over time. A combination of moisture and animal waste (the smallest holes provide a damp breeding ground for the tiniest creatures) over the years can do a lot of damage. You’ll also find that today’s materials are far more efficient than what you may currently have.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which sources a variety of strategies to help save energy in your home, has a section on insulation and air sealing that will take you through the steps of assessing your home’s specific needs.
Watch for additional strategies to help save energy in your home. Up next will be a feature on appliances, lighting and available tax credits for making your home more energy efficient.