Living a sustainable lifestyle often means occupying yourself with issues such as recycling and making smart, environmentally safe decisions when it comes to shopping, lighting your home or choosing the type of transportation you use.
But during the cold winter months, another important consideration is winterizing your home to save on energy use and costs.
While the following tips may seem simple, that doesn’t mean they are not effective. Using just one of these ideas will cut down on the energy used to heat your home.
Manage the thermostat. Here’s probably the most important area in reducing heating costs and the energy expended to keep your home warm, but it’s also the most neglected. Studies have shown that simply turning the temperature down 1 degree can save as much as 5% of your heating costs.
Turn off exhaust fans. Make minimal use of exhaust fans. Exhaust fans can clear the warm air out of a house in about an hour if left on.
Seal leaks. Taking the time to seal leaks- typically found in the attic, the fireplace and around electrical outlets and windows – can save big bucks on your energy bill (an estimated 2% of your annual heating costs). Another thing to remember is to close the damper on your fireplace when it is not in use.
Open curtains. If you’ve properly sealed your windows, then opening the curtains will allow sunlight to come in and help heat a room.
Turn it off. If you plan on being away from home for more than a few hours, turn off the heating system. Used over an entire late fall and winter, this strategy can save you up to 15% on your bills a year, if coupled with proper maintenance on your system.
Change filter. Speaking of proper maintenance – during the heating season, the furnace filter should be changed every month. A dirty filter restricts air flow and will lead to higher energy use and higher electrical bills.
Run fans in reverse. Hot air rises. Running a fan in reverse – many fans come with switch that will accomplish this – will force pockets of hot air that pool at the ceiling to be pushed downward, warming the room. This strategy could save you as much as 10% on your heating bill, according to Popular Mechanics.
Get a tune up. Like a car or any mechanical device, routine maintenance will improve performance for a furnace, making it more efficient and reducing your heating costs.
Dress warmly. It’s amazing the number of people who still want to lounge around in shorts and a T-shirt when it’s cold outside. Every degree you warm your house is costing you money and also expending energy, so lower the thermostat and put on a sweater!
Take the time to try even one of these tips to save energy costs this winter season. Better yet, try a number of them in combination. This is an area where you actions can have a big impact on your energy costs as well as the environment.
— This article was provided by iFame Media, a brand management agency in Tampa, on behalf of Dr. Greenberg’s Dental Office. Dr. Greenberg specializes in cosmetic dentist services and focuses on sustainable business practices.