It’s the coldest time of year. The temperature is hitting yearly lows, and they’ll stay low for months until spring arrives. The days are shorter, so there’s less energy from the sun.
Even though you want to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket, winter is still a time for hard work and effort; especially because this is the time of year when energy bills climb to their highest. You’re baking more, hanging holiday lights, turning on regular lighting earlier, and cranking the heat. To help you manage your rising energy costs (and to be kinder to the environment), here’s a few ways you can go green and save money this winter.
Step One: Embrace Your Deregulated Market
Keep in mind, natural gas isn’t the only thing that can supply you with energy; you can use online tools to browse pricing for greener options, such as solar and wind power, or use them to search for the absolute cheapest options.
Step Two: Insulate to Keep Warm Air In
Insulate your windows with plastic or another covering to keep the warm air from escaping. Have an energy auditor come in and evaluate your home for drafts. Do your best to insulate all of those drafts and you’ll find your home stays warmer for longer, which will result in less warmth loss and energy expended.
Here’s an inexpensive trick if you’re in a real pinch:
Insulate with bubble wrap. Thoroughly clean your windows, and then lay a bubble sheet against them. Use a stapler or tape to secure it in place.
Step Three: Switch to Energy Saving Light Bulbs
There’s less sunshine to light up your home in the winter, but constantly running your lights is expensive. A cheaper solution than standard fluorescents is energy saving lightbulbs. There are many types of energy saving bulbs, each with different benefits and drawbacks.
- Halogen incandescent – Only meets the minimum federal energy efficiency standard
- CFLs – Pays for themselves in less than nine months, and uses a quarter of the energy regular bulbs do
- LEDs – Last 25 percent longer than traditional bulbs and use only 20 to 25 percent the energy
Step Four: Close the Darned Door
It may sound like a cliché, but when your dad shouted you were letting all the heat out you were. Tell your kids the same thing. Remind them to close the front and back doors each and every time. Standing in an open doorway, even for a few minutes can quickly cool a home. This will cause the heat to kick on even if the rest of the house isn’t that cold.
It’s also beneficial to close interior doors. Shut doors to bedrooms and other rooms you don’t use much during the day. That way, heat doesn’t escape from common areas to these rarely used rooms. A bonus is that when you do step into that room it will be nice and toasty for you.
Step Five: Move Furniture Away from Vents
Finally, if you’ve got furniture covering vents this is not very efficient. You’re causing warm air to become trapped under furniture instead of circulating around the room. Go around your home and inspect for covered vents. Wherever you find one, move the furniture because blocking vents could cause air pressure problems, which increases the likelihood that air will become trapped. You’ll be paying for it, but it won’t be warming you.
These are just a few ways to save money and green your home. You’ll notice the difference in your electric bill. And, if you take further steps, such as investing in solar panels, you’ll save even more.