winter_efficiencyIf you are anything like me, you like to stay warm in the winter. I would always rather be warm than cold, so my energy bill sky rockets in the winter months. Over the years, however, I’ve found a few tricks to help lower the cost and save on energy.

Reduce the amount of warm air leaving your house.

Air is made up of tiny molecules. Those molecules vibrate differently depending on the temperature they are at (the amount of energy they carry). Molecules are so tiny we can’t see them even with the help of a microscope. So, it should be no surprise that those molecules will find the tiniest of tiny holes to pass through. When the air in your house exits to the outside, you are losing valuable warmth that you paid for! Here are a few simple tricks to help these air molecules hold on to that warm energy.

  • Seal up any leaks around windows and doors with caulk or weather-stripping.
  • Seal leaks around pipes that enter your home by spraying insulation around the entrance into the wall.
  • Put plastic up on the windows. We did this for years before we could afford new windows, and it was by far the most help.
  • Invest in new windows and doors. If you can afford it, this is certainly the way to go!

Reduce the usage of your heating system.

  • Turn down your thermostat. For every 1 degree you turn it down, you can save up to 5% on your energy bill.
  • Replace or clean the air filters in your home. Air passes through clean filters more easily. If your filters are clean, your heating system will run more efficiently and use less energy.
  • Schedule a maintenance call on your heating system. Companies usually come out for free or for a minimal fee and will run a diagnostic on your system. You can use this to get an idea for some more specific energy tips for your system.

Use less expensive options to stay warm.
Once you decide to turn the thermostat down, you’ll need to find other ways of staying warm.

  • Bundle up! Dress with layers, thick socks, and keep heavy blankets around.
  • Use the fireplace. Burning wood is much less expensive than running your heating system. As a bonus, it also provides a nice cozy atmosphere. Just be sure to close the damper when you are not using the fireplace.

Reduce your holiday light energy usage. We all love to put lights up on the tree and decorate the outside of our homes as well. Holiday lights can use more energy than you’d think, though! This year, make some energy conscious decisions during the holidays.

  • Use fewer lights. Maybe don’t decorate your entire front yard this year if you can help it!
  • Use LED lights. Upgrade those old, outdated holiday lights to something more efficient. You can easily find LED lights now at any of the stores near you. Make this year the year to upgrade that holiday light stash, and donate the old ones.