Use less energy without sacrificing comfort with these six winter energy conservation tips.
Change Your Filter Regularly
The changing season – from fall to winter – is the perfect time to change the filter in your HVAC unit. This easy, cost-effective task allows your heating system to operate more efficiently, ensuring better distribution of heat. You should check and change your filter once a month; HEPA filters every few months.
Reverse Those Ceiling Fans
During winter, switch the direction that your ceiling fan blades turn, so that cooler air is drawn upwards and warmer air pushed down into your living spaces. This allows you to turn the temperature down and still stay warm. There is generally a small switch on the fan that allows you to reverse the blade’s direction. Remember, clockwise in winter, and counterclockwise in summer.
Turn Down the Thermostat
When you’re home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable, dressing for warmth. When you’re asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, and save up-to 10 percent a year on heating/cooling costs. Smart or programmable thermostats can adjust the temperature for you.
Insulate Your Attic
To maintain comfort, heat loss must be mitigated in the winter by ensuring an effective resistance to the flow of heat, which is something insulating materials do quite well. Plug your zip code into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver tool to find insulation recommendations tailored to your specific zone and home.
Replace Worn Weatherstripping
Worn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts, letting cold air in, and heated air out. Caulking and weatherstripping – found at your local home improvement store – are two cost-effective ways to cut heating/cooling costs and increase occupant comfort. Before air sealing, you should schedule an energy audit.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit
An energy audit can help you determine where your house is losing energy and money. A professional technician – often called an energy auditor – will check for leaks, examine insulation, inspect your heating system, perform a blower door test, and more using an infrared camera. The technician will then recommend low-cost improvements to save energy, such as increasing your insulation or sealing air leaks.
Use LED Holiday Lights
Incandescent holiday lights are terribly inefficient, and despite careful storage, often emerge damaged. LEDs, while a little more expensive, are a much better option. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. Because they also produce very little heat, they are much safer to use for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Additionally, during the biggest holiday shopping weekend – Thanksgiving through Black Friday – many retailers sell LEDs for a fraction of the cost, making them very affordable.