Easy Do-It-Yourself Ways to Save Money on Energy during the Winter

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Looking to save money this winter? Stay warmer and lower your bills while helping the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states on their website that a typical household spends $2,100 a year on energy bills, contributing double the greenhouse gases to the environment as an average car. These easy, do-it-yourself steps could help you cut your energy bill into a fraction of what it was.

 

 1. Protect Air Ducts

According to the EPA, heating accounts for 34% of all annual utility usage. Be sure to pay attention to the air ducts that are transporting heat throughout the home. Leaks or distribution losses of heat very often amount to over 30% of the cost you are spending on air heating.

2. Turn down the Water Heater

According to the federal government’s website dedicated to energy, energy.gov, water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. They state on this website to turn down the temperature of your water heater in the winter to warm. With the water heater on at 120°F, not only is energy saved, but your hands won’t get burnt either.

3. Add Insulation to Water Heating System

According to MSN’s real-estate website, Swaddle water heater and pipes. Unless you’ve got a newer water heater that already has built-in insulation, insulating the water heating with a cover that will only cost about twenty dollars will reduce costs, especially if the water heater is in an uninsulated room such as a garage. Wrapping water pipes with inexpensive insulation will also help the water heating system avoid losing heat. This is especially important in uninsulated areas of the home. Also according to MSN’s real-estate website, a water-efficient shower head (often less than $20) can use 25% to 50% less hot water, saving both on water and power bills.

4. Allow Household to Absorb Heat from Sun

According to the federal government’s website on energy, it is possible to use as little as no energy at all to heat up your home in the morning if you use the natural heat that is being emitted from the sun to warm the home. This can be best done by opening the curtains on the windows facing the sun during the day.

5. Cover Drafty Windows

The federal government’s website on energy suggests using plastic sheets or plastic film to cover drafty windows. To reduce the amount of heat loss even further, make sure the

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plastic is sealed properly to the frame. This will reduce heat loss. Plastic film is inexpensive at about six dollars per roll.

Picture courtesy of http://www.blindalley.com/portfolios/hunterdouglas/energyefficiency.html

6. Adjust the Temperature

In order to save money on heating, the federal government’s energy website recommends to use heating minimally while you are awake at home, but when you are sleeping or away to turn back the thermostat as much as ten to fifteen degrees. If this is done regularly, heating and cooling costs will be reduced by about ten percent.

7. Find and Seal Leaks

Leaks for heating can often be found where plumbing connects to utilities, where there are gaps in insulation, in chimneys, and in unfinished spaces. According to the federal government, by adding caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks, it is possible to seal these leaks..

According to MSN’s website, you should also look for other insulation opportunities. Some well-placed insulation in the attic can save a bundle. These forms of insulation are also inexpensive at about fifteen dollars for a roll of over thirty feet.

8. Maintain Heating Systems

According to the federal government one can save up to ten percent on heating bills by staying up to date on the maintenance requirements for heating systems. While maintenance can cost around ten percent of annual energy cost, maintenance does not need to be done every year.

9. Reduce Heat Loss from the Fire Place

If you never use the fire place, make sure it is sealed. The federal government also says that if you do use the fire place, it is possible to get most of your homes heating from just the fire place. This can be done by setting the thermostat between 50° and 55°F and using a heat-air exchange system made of tempered glass. This will allow the fireplace to heat your home. Insulation can also be used around the fire place, protecting it from heat loss.

10. Unplug the Unused Electronics

Take unused electronic plugins out of their sockets. These plugins are using up just as much energy when they are not being used as when they are.

11. Lower Holiday Lighting Costs

The federal government considers holidays the most wasteful time of the year in terms of energy consumption. Save big during the holidays by using energy efficient LED light strings. This will lower lighting costs without sacrificing quality.