Winter is here. While the weather outside isn’t necessarily frightful, reducing the expense of staying warm can be delightful.
Chances are good you are working to avoid Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Turning up the heat is typically the easiest way to fight the cold, but doing so could freeze your budget.
Now is a good time to think about winterizing your home to avoid an increase on your electric bill. With these five steps, you can help keep the cold out and your personal finances warm this winter.
Adjust your thermostat
Lowering the temperature in your home may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be a simple way to keep some green in your pocket. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every eight hours you lower the thermostat by one degree, you’ll save 1 percent on your bill. The recommended temperature for homes during the winter is 68 degrees. Adjust the thermostat when you aren’t at home or at night, when you can get warm and cozy under the blankets.
You might also consider buying a programmable thermostat. It will automatically change to a more energy-efficient setting while you’re away, leaving you one less thing to think about as you head out the door.
Reverse your ceiling fans
During the winter, you’ll want to reverse the rotational direction of your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allow fan blades to turn clockwise or counter-clockwise. When it’s cold outside, run your ceiling fan clockwise at a slow pace with the air blowing upwards. This will help distribute the warm air that’s gathered at the ceiling back down into the room.
Replace your furnace filter
This might be the easiest DIY project to keep your finances warm this winter. Dirty and clogged filters obstruct the flow of air, making your furnace work harder or run longer, which uses more energy. Changing your air filters regularly helps your furnace function easily and efficiently. It is recommended you swap out your old air filters once a season.
Fix air leaks
You have an air leak if you can feel cooler air blowing through a crack or opening. Caulking and weather-stripping are two simple air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows, and all cracks and large openings to the outside. Fixing this issue can help you save anywhere from 10 to 20 percent on your energy bill, according to energy.gov.
Cover drafty windows
Window coverings can be a cost-effective and comforting addition to help you keep the warmth in this season. According to energy.gov, about 30 percent of a home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. In the winter, it’s generally a good idea to close the blinds or curtains on any windows that aren’t receiving direct sunlight. You might also consider using a thicker set of curtains during the winter to add an extra level of insulation.
With a little preparation, you’ll find yourself and your finances keeping warm all winter long.