Living in a 100+ year old house has its advantages–our house has charm galore– but also it’s disadvantages–hello drafty windows! We have been lucky so far this Winter that the weather has been warmer than normal so that helps with our yearly heating costs but with colder temperatures, snowfalls and the fact that it is dark so early, I am always looking for easy things to do around the house to help me save money .
The goal of having reasonable heating and cooling costs year round is to keep warm air in and cold air out so by taking the time to research some energy efficiency tips you can really save money all year long. Don’t have time to do the research yourself? No worries, I have got you covered!
Energy Efficiency Tip #1
One of the easiest things and cost effective things you can do to keep warm air in and cold weather out is to go around your house and seal up any cracks around windows and doors. Take a few minutes to walk around your house on a cool day and use your hand to feel for drafts.
If you feel a cold spot in front of your windows and doors that means that cold air is getting in. Bummer, I know! Guess what though? Fixing this problem is EASY and cost effective, as the solutions to the problem only cost a few dollars and can be picked up at your local hardware store.
This can be done by using any of the following three products*:
- Caulk – Seals gaps of less than ½ inch. Select grade (interior, exterior, high temperature) based on application.
- Spray foam – Fills large cracks and small holes. It can be messy; consider new latex-based foams. DO NOT USE near flammable applications (e.g., flue vents). DO NOT USE expanding types on windows and doors.
- Weatherstripping – Used to seal moveable components, such as doors, windows, and attic accesses.
Already done Tip 1 and still feeling heat loss? Then Tip 2 is for you!
Energy Efficiency Tip #2
Cover your windows! That’s right, shades and draperies can help you with your energy costs. When you open the shades and draperies during the day you allow natural sunlight in to warm up the room and if you close them at night before it gets dark it helps keep the warmth inside. When drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10% and every little bit of savings certainly helps.*
Energy Efficiency Tip #3
Have you ever put your hand in front of the outlets in your house? Do you feel a cold draft? That means that warm air is escaping and cold air is getting into your house through your outlets. Again, the fix for these is really economical. You can buy insulation covers for your outlets from your local hardware store or online. Another easy fix? Put into child safety covers on your outlets, they help sell up the air leaks as well.
Energy Efficiency Tip #4
Use a programable thermostat in your home. These are easy to install, was to use and really help keep costs down! By maintaining the highest or lowest required temperatures for four or five hours a day instead of 24 hours, a programmable thermostat can pay for itself in energy saved within four years.
Another tip? Keep your temperature in your house at 68 degrees during the day and even lower at night.* Why pay to keep your house warm overnight? I promise you, if you dress appropriately for bed and use enough blankets you won’t even know the difference, PLUS, if you use a programable thermostat you can set it to kick on and warm up your house before you even get out of bed!
Energy Efficiency Tip #5
Okay, so this tip doesn’t have to do with winter savings or ways to keep your house warm but it is important nonetheless. In every home we have items that we leave plugged in all the time.
Think about it…do you unplug your coffee maker? Toaster? How about your computer or printer? Even if they are not running–just plugged in–they are using energy. They are called “vampire” devices and they are costing you money each month. Purchase a Electricity Usage Monitor like the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor to see how much energy the items in your house are actually using. I bet you will be surprised, and even if it seems like a small amount remember that every little bit of energy usage adds up over the days, months and years you are in your home.
Click here to print out this handy graphic Winter Preparation Tips for your Home
I hope these simple tips help you save money this winer on your home heating costs. Remember, every little bit helps and if you follow these tips now before it gets really cold you will be saving money all season long.
Disclosure: I am a Project Envolve Ambassador and received product and compensation for this post. As always my opinions are 100% my own. Project Envolve is sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities. Learn more money saving tips at PPL Electric Utilities Pinterest boards here. #ProjectEnvolve
*Source: PPL Electric Utilities Residential EnergySmart Library