Cool Off Your Winter Energy Bill

You’ve budgeted for holiday gifts, meals, maybe a vacation—and with money tight, that doesn’t leave much room for home energy efficiency upgrades. Does that mean you’re powerless to lower your electric bill? Not at all. Keep your energy bill cool this winter with these tips and tricks:

  • Drape Delivery: Are you using your curtains to capture heat? Make sure drapes and shades are open to catch free solar heat during the day. Close them at night to keep the heat inside.
  • Thermostat: Set your thermostat to 68°F (or lower if comfortable).
  • Got tape? Though not as durable as foam, rubber, or vinyl, you can use non-porous tape (first aid cloth tape, for example) to keep cold air from squeezing into your home. Tape is good for blocking corners and irregular cracks, and can be used at the top and bottom of a window sash; door frames; attic hatches; and inoperable windows. Reinforce with staples if needed.
  • Fan it up: Run ceiling paddle fans on low and reverse the rotation to blow air up in winter. This keeps warm air circulating without cooling you.
  • Free vents: Your HVAC system will have to work twice as hard if your air registers and vents are blocked by rugs, furniture, or drapes. Keep them clear to allow air to flow freely.
  • Garage Drain: Leave your garage door down. A warmer garage in winter will save energy.
  • Rug Relief: Have a spare rug? Use it to cover bare floors for added insulation.
  • Cool Food: Don’t make your fridge work too hard. Clean coils every year, and set the temperature between 34°-37° F; leave the freezer between 0°-5° F. Keep the freezer full—frozen food helps your freezer stay cool. When cooking keep lids on pots, and let hot food cool off before placing it in the refrigerator.
  • Hot Savings: Heating water accounts for 12 percent of your home’s energy use. Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120°F. For households with only one or two members, 115°F works.

There are other ways to conserve energy, too. Remember, you don’t pay for what you don’t use. When you’re not watching TV or using lights, computers, and other electronics, turn them off. Lower your room temperatures a bit and wear a sweater to stay warm, or place an extra blanket on the bed at night. Find more ways to save at www.TogetherWeSave.com.  

Source: TogetherWeSave.com, Alliance to Save Energy, EnergySavers.gov

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