As Jack Frost starts to really sink his teeth in this winter, you may be tempted to throw caution to the wind and crank up the thermostat. You can offset your higher winter energy consumption with these easy energy-saving tips and tricks that will help keep your bills low. Check with your local government to see if your energy-saving measures qualify for rebates.
Plug those Holes
Homes are usually riddled with holes, cracks and gaps that allow your precious indoor air out and cold winter air in. The Earthworks Group estimates that if you added all the gaps in an average sized home, you would get a 9-foot hole in the wall and that’s going to let in a whole lot of cold air! Use caulk to seal all openings to ensure that your home is snug and warm.
Sunshine is the Best Heater
Let the sunshine in! Plant deciduous vines or trees around those windows which get the most direct sunlight. In the summer the leaves will shade your home from the sun and when they lose those leaves in the winter, your vines and trees will let in all that warm sunlight.
Slay those Vampires
When your appliances are on ‘stand-by mode’ they are still drawing energy. In fact the EPA estimates that ‘vampire loads’ account for 10-15% of your energy bill. If you aren’t using your appliances, turn them off or get a power bar with a timer to help you to reduce consumption.
Dodge that Draft
Cold wind comes in under doors. If you have a plastic seal around your door, check to see if it’s cracked as these wear over time. According to the U.S. Department of Energy drafty doors account for 5% to 30% of your home energy use.
Get your Ducts in a Row
Are your ducts leaking? Most home ducting systems have gaps and holes that cause a loss of 25-40% of conditioned air according to the US Department of Energy. Inspect your ducting and seal any breaches. Change filters once a month to ensure your system is functioning optimally and check that vents are not blocked by furniture and other obstacles.
Get with the Program
Consider installing a programmable thermostat which will reduce your indoor temperatures when you are asleep or away at work. Turning down the dial can save 5-15% on your energy bill. When you are scheduled to wake up or return home, your thermostat will increase the temperature so you are always comfortable.
ICF Walls and Basements
Are you considering a new build or retrofit? If you have an older home, you could be losing most of your heat through your basement and walling systems. ICFs provide one of the best insulating options. Made from Styrofoam blogs and filled with concrete, they provide unparalleled insulation and strength for a building envelope that will help you to reduce your costs.