Winter Energy Saving Ideas

Real Estate Agent with Cutler Real Estate
1.) Simply Turn Down Your Thermostat
You will save up to 5% on your total heating bill for every degree you lower your heat within the 60-70 degree range. Try wearing clothing that is warmer and lowering your heat to 68 degrees. Save 5-20% by turning your thermostat to 55 degrees or lower at night or when you're away. Please note that heat pumps should only be set back 5 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating.

2.) Eliminate Wasted Energy
Turn off the lights when you are done using them. Unless you are burning a fire, keep your fireplace damper closed to save up to 8% of your heated air from escaping up the chimney. If the extra refrigerator in the garage is really not crucial, unplug it to save 10-25% off your bill. And remember to turn off the bathroom and kitchen ventilating fans after they have done the job, because if these fans are left on, they can blow out a house-full of heated air.

3.) Lower Your Set Hot Water Temperature
Save 7-11% off your bill by setting your water heater to the "normal" setting of 120 degrees, unless your dishwasher manual calls for a higher setting.

4.) Take Shorter Showers
Lingering under the hot water in the shower is an expensive past time. Simply reducing shower times by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water for a family of four. Did you know that showers account for two thirds of your water heating costs? You could reduce your water heating costs by 33% if you cut your shower times in half.

5.) Efficiently Use Appliances
Try to only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full. Use the cold water setting on the washing machine when you can so that you reduce your washer's energy use by 75%. If you have a dryer with a moisture-sensing automatic drying setting, use it, and do not forget to clean out your lint tray.

6.) Unplug Electronics When Possible
A lot of electronics like TVs, VCRs, Chargers, Computer peripherals and others, use electricity even when they are switched off. The lost energy of one of the devices will not affect your bill too much, but combined, the electronic devices add up to over 50 watts in a typical home. So, when possible, unplug the square-shaped plugs when the devices are not being used.

7.) Deal with Window Air Conditioning Units
Either remove window air condition units during the winter, or if you're lazy, put an insulated jacket over the exterior.

8.) Lock Windows
Locking your windows will close windows more tightly, which will keep the hot air.

Here Are Some Inexpensive Energy-Saving Remedies

1.) Replace or Clean the Furnace Filters Each Month
Airflow in your furnace is restricted, which causes an increase in energy usage when dirty filters are not changed. Save up to 5% on your heating costs by keeping your furnace clean, lubricated, and properly attuned. Make sure that your gas or oil furnace is serviced and cleaned at least once a year.

2.) Choose Your Energy Using Products Carefully
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights that use 75% less energy.

3.) Plug Leaks in Your Home
You can save up to 10% by doing the following: Caulk leady doors and windows; install weather-stripping, and install gaskets behind outlet covers.

4.) Use Low Flow Showerheads
You could save up to 16% off your total water heating costs by installing a low flow showerhead and faucet if you do not already have them.

5.) Insulate the Hot Water Tank
Wrap the hot water tank with jacket insulation, especially if the water heater is older, and save up to 10% on your water-heating bill. Note: do not cover the air intake vent on a gas water heater.

If Possible, Try These Energy-Saving Investments

1.) Install a Programmable Thermostat
These thermostats can save up to 15% off your total energy costs. If you have a heat pump, select the thermostat that is designed for heat pumps. These easy-to-install thermostats can be set to drop temperatures before bedtime or warm the house in the morning.

2.) Increase Your Ceiling Insulation
Consider insulating your ceiling to up to R-38, if it's not already, to reduce heating costs by 5-25%.

3.) Seal ducts

25% of heating costs in an average California home results from leaking ductwork. Perhaps you should hire a contractor to test the tightness of your ducts and repair any leaks or restrictions in your ductwork.

4.) Install High Efficiency Windows
Consider replacing your windows with energy efficient ones, reducing your heating and cooling costs by 15%. If nothing else, invest in quality storm windows.

5.) Upgrade Appliances
Today's appliances are obviously much more energy efficient than those before. For example, older stoves are less insulated around the perimeter than newer models, which means more hot air is escaping. Newer air conditioning units use less energy to produce cold air. Think about getting a tankless water heater. The water tanks keep water warm when you are at work and sleeping. A tankless water heater would only use energy to warm water when you need it.
Posted by

Ryan Ruehle
Keller Williams Consultants Realty
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