Our first cold spell of the year is here and with temperatures predicted to remain frigid for the foreseeable future, we want to help you prepare for the colder days ahead. A few simple steps can help you stay comfortable and save energy this winter.
Capture the sun’s light and heat. During the day, leave your curtains and blinds open to illuminate your rooms naturally and gain warmth from the sun. At night, close your curtains and blinds to prevent that free heat from escaping.
Prevent fireplace heat loss. When you’re not using your fireplace, keep the damper closed so warm air doesn’t escape through the chimney. Energy-efficient fireplace grates also help you save by pulling cool air out of your room and into the fireplace, while bringing warm air back in the room.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Sometimes we forget that ceiling fans are just as important for keeping you warm as they are for keeping you cool. Flip the switch to change the direction of the blades so they spin clockwise, which will push warm air downward.
Adjust the thermostat according to the time of day. When you’re home and awake, set the heat as low as it feels comfortable. Aim for 68 degrees as an optimal temperature. Wearing warmer clothing or grabbing a blanket can help keep you cozy. Then, while you’re sleeping or out of the house, lower the thermostat by 7°-10°. Doing so for at least 8 hours can save up to 10% on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat will make it easy to save. You also don’t have to heat all rooms equally. Using an energy-efficient space heater in your most common rooms allows you to keep the main temperature lower.
Find and seal air leaks. Inspect all your doors, windows and ductwork for gaps that could leak heat from your home. Many of these cracks and leaks can easily be fixed with caulk and weatherstripping, which can add up to big savings. Notorious culprits for air leaks are gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Maintain your heating system. Basic maintenance of your HVAC system, such as regularly replacing the air filter, can save money and increase your comfort. Dirty filters trap dust and particles that can reduce airflow, which makes your system work harder. This takes longer to heat your home and drives up costs. Check your air filter every month, and if it’s dirty, replace it. Your filter should be changed a minimum of once every three months.
Check your water heater settings. Lowering the temperature of your water heater by just 10° can save you up to 5% on heating costs. The Department of Energy recommends setting it at 120°F.
Schedule a free energy assessment. Looking for additional ways to save? A good next step is to schedule a virtual energy assessment with a trained energy advisor. They will provide you with recommendations on incentives available for upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, and you’ll receive a personalized energy savings kits with upgrades to help you start saving right away.
Following these simple energy efficiency tips can help you save energy and money this winter. For more information on the variety of tools, tips and programs we have available for you to save, visit savewithppl.com.