Seasonal Advice for an Energy Efficient Home
You probably notice the most sizable increases in your home’s energy bills during the seasons of summer and winter. Those are probably the months your eyes grow large – and you say a few curse words – as you look at your utility bills.
You can save money during those months and during other seasons of the year by utilizing a few helpful tips.
Conserving energy in the summer is all about managing heat.
Use a programmable thermostat, so you don’t waste energy cooling the house when no one is home. Try using a ceiling fan when you’re at home, which will allow you to turn down your central air conditioning by four degrees, states the U.S. Department of Energy. When it’s cooler at night, turn off your air conditioning and open your windows. In the morning, shut the windows and doors to contain the cool air.
ENERGY STAR, a division of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recommends replacing your air conditioning unit if it’s more than 10 years old in order to increase energy efficiency.
A great way to conserve energy in the fall is to use nature to heat your home in the mornings by letting the sunlight shine in. Use heavier curtains on your windows to keep heat in.
Fall is also the time to clean up from summer and prepare for winter. Change your filters in your air conditioning and your furnace. Seal leaks around plumbing, behind unfinished closets and cupboards, chimneys, doors and windows using weather-stripping or caulk.
Between Christmas lights, furnaces, space heaters, heat pumps, etc., it doesn’t take much to see a drastic increase on your bills in the winter.
Many people like to use a fireplace to help with heating their home in the winter. Not only will a fireplace keep you toasty and warm during those winter months, but it will also look beautiful and set the ambiance of your home. But if you have your damper open when there isn’t a fire burning, you’re allowing warm air to escape. Only leave the damper open when you have a fire going. In addition, you need to seal the chimney flue to further prevent heat loss.
When you decorate for Christmas, use light-emitting diode (LED) lights that are much more energy efficient than standard ones.
Adding a few chores to your list of spring cleaning can really help you keep energy costs down.
Remember to open windows and put screens in your doors, so you can allow fresh air to come in and cool your home. You may want to switch to lighter curtains toward the end of spring, so you’re not trapping as much heat. Use energy efficient bulbs. If you have outdoor water features, use a solar pump instead of an electric one.
Turn the temperature on your water heater down. Keeping it on the warm setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit is adequate to keep the water at a comfortable temperature.
Insulate your attic and seal your duct-work. You may want to have your duct-work cleaned to further prevent energy loss throughout the times you’re using your central air or furnace.
Keeping your home energy efficient by using these tips for seasonal maintenance will not only leave your home at a comfortable temperature, but it will also save you money.
Photo by Fort Rucker