Winter has arrived and you know what that means – snow piled high, ice hanging from rooftops, frosty windows, and layers upon layers of clothing. You’re in a constant battle with winter’s chill, and it can be a pricey battle if you aren’t careful. Sure, you can crank up the heat, but at what cost? If you’re looking for some great energy saving tips to both warm you up and keep your wallet cool, read on.
Draft-Proof Windows and Doors
As much as 30 percent of your home’s heat could be escaping through your windows and doors, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which can result in money tossed out the window. If new windows aren’t in the budget, consider some DIY ways to draft-proof your home that work just as effectively. Weatherstripping, new door sweeps, window film, insulated curtains, and a fresh coat of caulking are all easy ways to keep the heat in. There are step-by-step tutorials online for whatever method you choose, and your local home improvement store can give you some tips and tricks, too. For the crafty homeowners out there, you can create your own draft stopper using your favorite fabric or socks.
Consider a New Furnace
Your furnace is responsible for heating your home, but it can just as easily be the culprit. While the average lifespan is 20 to 30 years, be on the lookout for signs that it’s starting to wind down. You may begin to notice your energy bills are higher since the old furnace has to go into overtime to heat your home, or perhaps you’ve become friends with your HVAC technician due to constant repairs. Inefficiency is a huge sign as well, especially if you notice a drastic difference in the temperature from room to room. The average cost of a new furnace ranges anywhere from $2,541 to $6,120, but it really all comes down to the type. A gas furnace is on the pricier side at $2,000 to $10,000, while an electric furnace typically runs between $1,000 and $6,000. Whether or not you get a new one, be sure to stay on top of maintenance such as replacing/cleaning filters and cleaning ducts to extend its lifetime.
Be Smart With Your Thermostat
Smart home technology is on the rise, and one of the most common is a smart thermostat. Not only do they make heating and cooling your home a breeze with all the programmable settings, bells, and whistles, but they promise to save you money by making your home more energy-efficient. How? The key is the various settings. You can change the temperature during the day when you’re away at work, as well as at night when you’re asleep and most likely snuggled up under the covers. Rather than have the heat run all day when you aren’t using it, you can set it to run when you really need it. There are a variety of smart thermostats out there to meet your needs and budget, so read reviews to find the best fit.
Use an Alternative Heat Source
Some of us still feel chilly no matter how high we crank the heat. Rather than turn it up and melt everyone else, consider an alternative way to stay warm. There are plenty of heated blankets on the market to keep you cozy and warm—for example, you can buy one on Amazon for less than $40. A simple fleece blanket (or two or three) can also warm you up, along with a fuzzy pair of socks. If you have a fireplace, amp up the cozy factor and light it up; just be sure to follow all safety measures and maintenance suggestions.
Have a Backup Plan
During the winter, staying warm is a necessity. Unfortunately, heavy snow and ice storms can throw a wrench into our best-laid plans. So, consider investing in a backup generator that can help keep your power running until it gets restored. Keep in mind that this will be a bit of an investment; units range from $1,900 to $12,000 — and that’s before the cost of installation.
Winter is here and the cold is setting in. It’s time to turn up the heat, but that can mean a big bill. Rather than have your wallet go up in flames, use some of the suggestions mentioned above to make your home warm, cozy, and energy-efficient.