Wondering how to save on fuel bill costs and keep your home comfortable at the same time? Here are 20 ideas to get you going.
Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®
You can make a positive impact on your home’s fuel bill simply by making a few changes. Bundling up, filling in gaps, and turning things off this winter can warm up and keep your costs down.
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You need to keep things warm at home. You don’t live in an igloo for a reason. When winter begins its chilly approach, keep cool about heating up. Prepare your home and yourself for the cold season with a few simple changes. No installation required.
1. Wear appropriate winter clothing. Put on a sweater (and turn down the thermostat).
2. Harness the sun. Open south-facing window shades and drapes during the day and close them at night.
3. Flip a switch. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
4. Give your computer a rest. Your computer's sleep mode (if activated) will let you power it down when sitting idle -- which can save $25 to $75 per year in energy costs. Or simply turn the computer and monitor off when they're not in use -- as well as the printer, copier, and fax machine.
5. Ditto with other equipment. Unplug all your electronic toys (TVs, DVD players, VCRs, cell-phone chargers) to keep them from using electricity when they're not in use.
6. Make your ceiling fan do the work. Most fans have a switch that lets you reverse the motor. The resulting updraft forces warm air near the ceiling down to where it can make you and your family feel more comfortable.
More Ways to Keep Warm Air Where It Belongs
Caulking around windows and
doors is a low-cost solution.
7. Stop air movement. Close the fireplace damper when it's not being used. Check your dryer vent cap to make sure it closes tightly when it's not being used. Use ventilating fans sparingly.
8. Plug up the big gaps. Seal cracks, especially around windows and doors, with caulk and weather stripping. Install storm windows.
9. Plug up the small gaps, too. Put foam insulators behind the faceplates for light switches and electrical outlets.
10. Add a barrier. Install or increase the amount of insulation, paying special attention to the attic and basement where the biggest gaps and cracks are lurking.
Smart Ideas for Your Heating System
A programmable thermostat
can save you up to $150 per year.
11. Maintain your equipment. Dirt and neglect are the most common causes of equipment failure. So clean or change the furnace filter once a month (or as often as recommended by the filter manufacturer).
12. Make informed choices. Call your local utility and ask what programs are available to encourage energy efficiency (such as rebates on new furnaces).
13. Get a professional opinion. Schedule a checkup of your heating system with a licensed contractor.
14. Install a programmable thermostat. Used properly, this little gadget can save you as much as $150 a year in energy costs. How? By scaling the temperature down when you're away and scaling it back up when you return.
15. Use less energy heating water. Set your water heater temperature to no more than 120 degrees.
16. Invest in new technology. Replace your refrigerator or water heater if either is more than 10 years old. Replace your heating and cooling system if it's old and inefficient. Buy energy-efficient windows and exterior doors. Over a period of years, the energy savings will help make up for the purchase prices.
Bright Ideas for Conserving Energy
Lighting can consume 20
percent of home energy
17. Help lightbulbs last longer. Install dimmers in the kitchen and dining room -- it adds ambience while saving energy! Use sensors outside to turn lights on only when needed.
18. Get rid of lightbulbs altogether. Solar-powered outdoor fixtures provide electricity-free lighting.
19. Switch brands. Replace standard incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient ones. They cost a little more, but use less energy and last a lot longer.
20. Remove the guesswork. Buy Energy Star. More than 50 types of products (from lightbulbs to new houses) bear this label. It means you're buying the most energy-efficient products on the market.