7 Simple Ways To Save Money, Energy & The Environment This Winter
Most of us are doing what we can to cut down on the carbon footprints we’re leaving behind on Mother Earth by recycling, reducing our water usage, turning off lights and appliances when they’re not in use. But there’s still more we can do that will not only help the environment, it will also help us to conserve energy, which translates into some significant savings on our utility bills.
So as homeowners, how can we care for the planet and cut energy costs? Check out these seven inexpensive, simple ways we can prepare for winter, while keeping us warmer and saving money:
- Quick Filter Fix: Although some manufacturers recommend changing furnace or heating filters every three months, especially during winter months, they should be examined more often and changed when needed. This will ensure the unit runs more efficiently, uses much less energy and supplies more heat.
- Energy Audit: Many local utility companies will offer a no-cost energy audit to see if homeowners can benefit from adding weatherstriping, caulking, styrafoam and other insulation around leaky windows, doorways and exposed pipes.
- Hot Water Heater: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends we lower the temperature setting on our hot water heats to 120° rather than the traditional level of 140° Fahrenheit. This ten degree difference is often barely noticeable and averages a $400 savings on energy costs. If you’re travelling for the holidays, consider turning this appliance off to prevent it from remaining in standby mode while you’re away.
- Thermostat: Programmable or “smart” thermostats set to 68° during the daytime and 55° at night will save significantly compared to a more traditional and constant 70° setting. For every one degree you lower the heat, you’ll save 3% in heating costs and the two-degree differential during the daytime hours saves an estimated six percent of heat-related CO2 emissions.
- Cozy Comforts: Keep plenty of cozy accoutrements nearby while relaxing at home, throw blankets, afghans and other cover-ups. Dress in warm sweaters, thick socks, slippers and sweatpants, which can make a 68° degree setting feel more like 78° degrees.
- Cover-Up: For homes with a significant amount of bare floors, help to keep homes warmer by using area rugs and carpet in these rooms or hallways. If you have a fireplace, consider installing glass doors to cut down on drafts and always keep that damper closed when not in use.
- Use Window Dressings: Shades and curtains not only block out light, they can also help to reduce heat loss during the evening. Keep them shut during the day and allow the sunlight to enter the during warmer, afternoon hours when the sun is out.
While it may take a little bit of time and a relatively small expense to institute these practices, in the long run, our wallets and the planet will both thank us.
Gwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the makeup and fashion industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to be more eco-friendly.