Winter Energy Saving Questions and Answers

The cold, rainy months of winter are infamous for running up your energy bills and, in the process, your carbon footprint. Luckily, properly preparing your home – and your family – for winter can cut way down on all of that winter energy usage. Read on for some ideas, questions and answers on saving money, reducing energy consumption, having a greener holiday season, and more.

 

Winter is cold. The heater is expensive. Nothing to be done about my increased energy bill, right?

Actually, there are several steps you can take to keep your energy bill down – without giving your family frostbite in the process. A few simple questions and answers can get you on track. For example, a programmable thermostat is an inexpensive investment, but can do wonders for your winter budget.

 

Pick up a quality programmable thermostat and have it properly installed. Then turn down your temp by a few degrees during the day and about 10 degrees overnight. This simple act can shave as much as 20 percent off of your monthly energy costs. It may sound simple, but basics like putting on socks and a sweater before choosing to crank up the heater add up to big savings over the course of a winter.

 

Ok, I’ve installed a programmable thermostat and picked up some fuzzy socks. Any other easy ways to cut down on my winter heating bill?

There are several other simple steps you can take towards lowering that big bad bill, as well. For example, if you have a forced air heating system, start by inspecting and replacing your filters at the onset of winter. If you’re working with a radiator, make sure it’s heating properly and the right size for your room.

 

Another trick for lowering outrageous winter heating bills is to purchase a humidifier. Moist air feels hotter against your skin than dry air, so a simple room humidifier will let you set your thermostat a few degrees cooler – saving you electricity and money in the process.

 

Got it. My heater is working at maximum efficiency and I just plugged in my new humidifier. I’m good to go now, right?

Not quite. To really make your home energy efficient throughout the winter, you’ll need to address your insulation, as well. Drafty windows and doors can suck up all of your expensive heat and distribute it exactly where you don’t want it – outside your home.

 

Keep your doors closed as much as possible, seal up any gaps in your windows, and install some simple foam insulation gaskets behind your wall switch plate covers and electrical outlets. If you have a room that’s unused, close any wall, ceiling or floor vents and keep its door closed all day. Weather-strip windows and use caulk to seal up any cracks in their frames. A little work on your part at the onset of winter is the key to a season of savings.

 

Also, don’t forget your home’s water heater. Lowering the maximum temperature by a few degrees will save you money in the long run. So will purchasing a water heater jacket or sleeve, which will keep your water hotter for a longer period of time, without having to expel quite as much heat and energy.

 

What about the holidays? Any tips on saving electricity at the end of the year?

Absolutely! There are plenty of was to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank. You don’t have to refrain from decorating or lighting your home in order to save some money.

 

Start by swapping any of your older incandescent lighting for more energy efficient LED versions. LED lights for your home and tree use up to 99% less electricity than their traditional counterparts! (Coincidentally, they are safer and less of a fire hazard, as well.)

 

Picking up a lighting timer to go with your decorations is a great idea, too. Keep your light-up times to seven hours a day or less, and unplug any electrical decorations and Christmas trees before heading to bed or leaving the house.

 

Asking and answering a few common sense questions and answers might be all that you need to reduce your electricity usage this winter. 

Sam Jones, the author, has been looking into winter fuel savings and wanted to address some pertinent energy questions and answers.

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