Winter is on its way, and along with the cooler temperatures comes higher energy bills. Keeping the family home warm and comfortable through the winter months costs money, and it’s not unusual for families to see a seasonal spike in their monthly energy bills. That winter spike in your energy costs can put a real strain on the family budget.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling costs make up as much as 56% of the typical family’s energy costs. That’s a significant amount of money. Luckily, there are some simple ways to keep your heating and cooling bills under control. So, before you start pinching pennies or signing up for payday loans to see you through the season, lets look at some simple tips to help you save money on your heating bill.
Upgrade Your Home’s Insulation
Making sure that your home is properly insulated is one of the most important steps to saving money on your heating and cooling costs. Proper insulation minimizes heat transfer, meaning your heating and cooling units won’t have to work so hard to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. When you bring your home’s insulation up to code, you can reduce your heating costs by as much as 30%. That savings more than covers the initial investment in new insulation. If your home’s insulation is out of date, check with the Department of Energy’s Zip Code Insulation Program to learn how to bring your home up to code and save money on your heating and cooling costs.
Adjust Your Thermostat
We all have a tendency to set our thermostats and forget them. However, that means that much of the time we are heating an empty house. When you are away at work, for instance, drop your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees. By simply lowering the thermostat for the eight hours you are away at work, you can cut your heating bill by as much as 10%. The same trick can be used at bedtime. Lowering the thermostat at throwing another blanket on the bed can save you an additional 10% on your energy costs.
Reset Your Water Heater
Everyone likes a nice hot shower in the morning, particularly when it is cold and gray outside. But that water heater accounts for 15% to 25% of your monthly energy costs. Most new water heaters come preset at 140 degrees. Simply dialing it back to 120 degrees will save between 3% and 5% on your energy costs. For even greater savings, consider installing low flow shower heads and faucets. This will help you conserve water, lowering your water bill as well as your electric bill.
Install Energy Efficient Windows
During the winter, homes lose a lot of their internal heat through windows. This is particularly true of older homes with out dated single pane windows. Replacing your old windows with energy efficient double paned models will cut down on heat loss, and will reduce your overall heating costs. While replacing all of the windows in your home will require an initial investment, the annual savings on your energy bill can be as much as 20%. That’s a pretty sizable return on your investment.
The onset of winter shouldn’t bring financial stress. If you prepare for the season, you can realize a substantial savings on your winter heating bills. But the savings do not stop there. These few tips will also help you save money during the summer months, when you are trying to keep your home and family cool. If high energy costs are getting you down, consider what steps you can take to reduce your heating and cooling bills.