As the days continue to get cooler furnaces around the country are kicking in. It’s time to brace ourselves for higher heating bills as the cold, winter days decide to stick around.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to make your home more energy efficient, which in turn will save you money while helping the environment at the same time.
- Contact your utility company and ask if they offer free or discounted energy audits. If they don’t offer an energy audit service, you can hire a home energy professional, such as a certified Home Energy Rater, to evaluate your home's energy efficiency. An energy audit will help you determine the energy consumption of your home and help you find ways to reduce it.
- Seal the draft. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 5 percent to 30 percent of your energy use can be wasted heating the great outdoors through drafts. Make or buy a draft snake to prevent cold air from leaking into your home. Replace old weather stripping around your windows and doors to reduce the amount of cold air coming in and hot air going out..
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings. The installation is straightforward on most models and they are simple to use. Also consider turning down the heat dial. Dialing down the thermostat one degree during the winter can result in about 1 to 3 percent less fuel use, and a similar reduction in your heating bill.
- Take advantage of tax incentives and rebates for upgrades around your home. If you purchase an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for your home, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for state based incentive programs.
[Photo used under Creative Commons from Ruthanne Reid/Flickr]