With the cold weather fast approaching, energy bills can start to skyrocket very quickly.  That is why we have compiled a short list of cost-effective solutions that you can easily do to help improve your home’s energy usage and save you your hard-earned money, so you can use it for things that you actually enjoy!

  1. Check weather stripping around windows and doors. Cold air can easily (and most often does) seep through those cracks of the windows and doors.  Place your hand next to the seals around the perimeter of the windows and doors…if you feel cold air coming through, then you most likely do not have a tight seal.  You can easily fix this item by caulking around the seals and applying new weather stripping around the doors. You can inexpensively buy these items at most any home improvement store.  Follow this link for more details on how you can implement this DIY project in your home: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing
  2. Check all outlets, lighting (including can lights), and air supply and air return vents for the HVAC system for cold air seeping through them. Remove the electrical outlets covers and install an inexpensive foam insulating electrical outlet cover to seal in the air and keep cold air out of your home. If you feel cold air coming in from an unsealed area in the home, seal the area by caulking or using expandable foam. Failing to seal these small areas in your home can decrease the temperature in your home and cause you to use more energy to keep your home warm.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat. Lowering your thermostat by 7-10 degrees for at least 8 hours a day can save you up to 10% in energy costs. The best way to do this is to decrease your thermostat during the night when you are sleeping as most people sleep better in cool temperatures.
  4. Open and close your window blinds depending on the weather. When it is warm and sunny outside, go ahead and open those blinds up and let the sun warm up your home.  However, when the weather turns cloudy and dreary, be sure to keep your blinds closed to seal in the heat.
  5. Use LED Christmas light bulbs and timers. Use of Christmas lights inside and outside of the home during the holiday season can cause a spike in your energy bill!  Some ways to save on these added energy costs is to use more energy efficient LED lighting for your Christmas lights.  In addition, go ahead and plug the lights into a timer to easily turn your lights on and off! If you do not need to run the lights overnight, then program them to turn on at dusk and turn off later in the evening when you go to bed.
  6. Run your ceiling fans clockwise to circulate warm air in the room. Most fans have a switch that allow you to reverse the way that the blades turn.  Running the blades clockwise will help warm up the room while reversing it will help you cool down your room in warmer weather.
  7. Change air return filters for your HVAC system. This is a big energy saver and is often overlooked.  Dirty air filters do not allow your furnace to run efficiently.  Air return filters should be checked every couple of months and replaced regularly.
  8. Get a yearly furnace tune-up. While this may be more expensive up front, getting a regular maintenance on your furnace will keep it running more efficiently and will hopefully help prevent or delay more expensive issues down the road.
  9. Shut vents and doors in rooms not used. This may seem simple, but heating rooms that are never used just increases your energy bill.  If you have a guest room or a room that is rarely used, close the air vents in the room and shut the door until you need to use it.  When you need to use it again, just open the door and vents, and you will be surprised how quickly that room will heat back up.
  10. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees and program your heater for the hours you are most likely to use your hot water. Lowering your temperature by just 10 degrees can decrease your water energy costs by 3-5%. If you are gone all day and sleeping all night, it doesn’t make sense for your hot water heater to be using energy to heat your water.