Winter is the time of year when we all start to feel the pinch financially. Utility bills go up as we crank the heat indoors to stay warm, and it can be a real budget-buster. But there are ways to offset the increased costs and keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank. Making your home more energy efficient is a great place to start. Here are six ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency this winter.
1. Check Your Insulation
Poor insulation is one of the biggest culprits of wasted energy in the home. Heat rises, so in houses where insulation is lacking, all that heat escapes through the roof. Inadequate insulation is also a major contributor to cold drafts coming into the house.
If you want to be cozy and save money this winter, ensure your insulation is up to par. You may need to add more insulation or replace what you have if it is old or worn out. Also, make sure to seal any cracks or gaps around doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping.
2. Let in Some Sunlight
During the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky than it is during other times of the year. This means that there are more opportunities for sunlight to stream into your home during the daytime hours. Take advantage of this by opening up curtains and blinds during the day and letting that free solar heat help take the edge off indoor temperatures.
Just be sure to close them back up at night to prevent heat loss through windows. No need to go overboard — a little sunlight can go a long way. So take advantage of it when you can and save energy!
3. Build a Greenhouse
A greenhouse is a great way to keep your plants warm in the winter and can also be used to grow your own food year-round. Building a greenhouse is a great way to save money and be more self-sufficient if you have the space and the interest.
Greenhouses work by trapping heat from the sun inside, which then radiates back onto the plants, keeping them warm. If you live in a cold climate, a greenhouse can be a lifesaver for your plants (and your wallet).
4. Use Caulking and Weather Stripping
Caulking and weather stripping are two simple and inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient this winter—and all year round, for that matter. These products are designed to seal gaps and cracks around doors and windows where air leaks can occur.
By sealing these openings, you can keep the hot air inside where it belongs and prevent drafts from coming in. You will be amazed at how much difference this can make in how comfortable your home feels and how much money you save on heating costs.
5. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Most people think of ceiling fans as a summertime cooling tool, but did you know they may also be used to circulate heat in the winter? Just reverse the direction of the blades so that they spin clockwise, and run them on low.
The warm air will be circulated back down into the room, providing a gentle and efficient way to heat things up. If you have ceiling fans in your home, give this a try the next time you need to take the chill off. You may be surprised at how well it works.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to saving money on heating costs. These devices allow you to set a schedule for when your heat should be on and off, so you are not wasting energy when no one is home or everyone is asleep.
You can find programmable thermostats at most hardware stores, which are relatively easy to install. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully before getting started. You can also hire a professional to do it if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
Before buying a new programmable thermostat, check to see if yours is compatible with “smart” technology. This way, you can control it from your phone or other devices while away from home.
By following these simple tips, you can make your home more energy efficient and save money on utility bills this winter—without sacrificing comfort. Start with insulation and work your way down the list; each step will make a difference in how warm and welcoming your home feels all season long.