The air outside has taken a decidedly cooler turn. As such, homeowners and renters alike, may find themselves more often reaching to adjust the thermostat to a higher temperature. The home, after all, should be a place of comfort.
What many people fail to remember is that a large percentage of a home’s energy costs comes from heating and cooling a home. Although each state will have different statistics, but overall the Department of Energy calculates that up to 48% of a home’s utility bill is due to heating and cooling. The good news is there are several ways to keep warm during the colder months — many for little to no cost — while keeping energy efficiency in mind:
1. Layer up.
It may seem simple, but wearing a long sleeve shirt, pants and socks at home should be the first step to staying warm before setting the thermostat higher.
2. Throw down an area rug on a bare floor.
Anyone who has walked barefoot on bare floors on a cold day will know it can feel like walking on ice. If your home has bare floors, throwing down a rug can actually help act as a type of insulation keeping your feet feeling warmer.
3. Open your blinds and drapes during the day.
Even ambient light coming from outside can help warm a room slightly. Absorbing some of that heat during the day will make it so you don’t have to heat the room so much.
4. Ensure heating vents are not blocked or obstructed.
If a home has a central heating system, having furniture too near or directly in front of a vent could make the heating system work harder to warm the room to the desired temperature.
5. Check the air filter on a heater/HVAC system and replace or clean, if necessary.
A dirty filter unnecessarily taxes the heating/cooling system causing it to work harder and longer, thereby using more energy. The air filter manufacturer should provide guidelines on the recommended replacement frequency.
6. Close off unused rooms and spaces.
For rooms in a home that are seldom used, when trying to heat the home, it might help to close off that room and any heating vents in the room.
7. Weatherize to stop air leaks.
A small air leak through a door or window can make a big impact over time in wasted energy. Warm air escapes through these unaddressed leaks and the cooler outside air replaces it. Many of these leaks can be easily remedied with weather stripping, caulking, spray foam, or many other inexpensive products on the market.
8. Check the R-Value of your insulation.
In terms of complexity, upgrading wall, ceiling, or floor insulation is certainly more involved than many of the low or no-cost items on this list, but the payback can be substantial for both heating and cooling a home. The R-Value of insulation measures the resistance to heat flow. A higher R-Value, then means greater efficiency and insulation. Each State generally has its own building standards identifying the minimum R-Value for new construction. Exceeding the standard, however, can further lower energy consumption and costs.
9. Consider if it’s time to upgrade your heater.
This item is also more complex than most items on this list, but an aging, inefficient furnace can cause an energy bill to be much higher than necessary. An excellent energy efficient option to look for are ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.
10. A warm drink, a comfortable blanket, or a snuggling pet or loved one.
Feeling warmth is as much about temperature as it is about feeling cozy. Sometimes nothing can feel better than knowing it is cold outside, while comfortably relaxing indoors.
All of these suggestions are great ways to keep warm this season while keeping energy costs in mind. For the larger, more complex, items, local utility providers and also local or State government agencies often have rebates available to offset the initial cost.
It is worth taking some time to further research or speak with a contractor or energy professional trained and certified in energy efficiency measures.
courtesy of: http://sdgln.com/