December means that winter is officially here. With winter comes the cold weather and snow and ice. Here are some tips from ConsumerEnergyCenter.org to help keep your home warm while saving energy and money.
- Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or off at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).
- Let the sunshine in. Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free (get them closed again at sundown so they help insulate).
- Eliminate wasted energy. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Unplug that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don’t truly need it – this seemingly convenient way to keep extra drinks cold adds 10-25 percent to your electric bill. Turn off kitchen and bath-ventilating fans after they’ve done their job – these fans can blow out a house-full of heated air if inadvertently left on. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning to prevent up to 8 percent of your furnace-heated air from
going up the chimney.
- Shorten showers. Simply reducing that lingering time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent.
- Use appliances efficiently. Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer when you can. Using cold water reduces your washer’s energy use by 75 percent. Be sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap after each use. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if you have one.
For more great tips check out the links in the sources!