Winter will be hanging around for a few more weeks (depending on whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow tomorrow.)
Reducing your home energy use not only helps the environment but can save you money as well. However, conserving energy is tougher during the winter since heating costs typically rise. Here are a several tips to help you save energy – and money! – while still staying warm.
- Let the sunshine in! Opening your curtains during the day allows the sun to bring heat into your home through the windows. If you already have energy efficient insulated windows they will help to keep some of that warm air inside. Be sure to close the curtains at night to minimize the heat loss.
- Adjust your thermostat at night. The Department of Energy estimates you can save 10% per year by turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees at night. A programmable thermostat will do this for you and you can set it to raise the temperature in the morning so you won’t have to climb out of a warm bed into a cold room. Throw an extra blanket on and let the savings add up!
- Get your furnace serviced. Change the filters regularly so your furnace can perform at it’s optimum, money-saving best. The harder it works, the more money you spend. A little preventive maintenance will pay dividends in the long run not only on your heating costs but your appliance will last longer too.
- Prevent leaks. Drafty windows and doors are uncomfortable and expensive. Look for areas where old caulking may need to replaced and seal those joints. You may even need to consider replacing your windows and doors if they are old and inefficient. If so, the Energy Trust of Oregon (energytrust.org) is a good place find out about energy saving weatherization products and check out any rebates that may be available.
With a little effort you can reduce your energy costs this winter and still be comfortable.