Looking for ways to cut costs without freezing your tail off this winter? From addressing air leaks, to improving energy efficiency in your home’s heating and insulation, there are plenty of ways to make your home more efficient without sacrificing comfort. Make a plan this winter to address energy efficiency in your home and get closer to a net zero lifestyle. Here are 7 energy efficiency tips to get you started saving money while keeping warm throughout this chilly season!
#1 Weather-Proof Windows and Doors
Your home’s windows and doors are the areas where energy is most easily lost. Fortunately, they’re also the first places to check to improve your home’s energy efficiency. A few good indicators that your windows and doors are inefficient are visible spaces, drafts, and condensation on the panes. These mean your doors or windows are not forming a weather-proof barrier into your home. They can let water and air in, and let heat escape, all of which negatively affect your energy efficiency as well as your home’s protective ability.
To combat this, consider upgrading to storm windows, add an insulated door, and use weather stripping and insulation to seal gaps, reduce drafts and trap heat inside your home.
#2 Add Insulating Curtains
Heavy quilted curtains are often used to keep light out, but they can also keep out cold air, reducing drafts and keeping your home warmer. Insulating curtains work by trapping cold air by the window pane to stop it from entering the room. Just remember to open the curtains when the sun is shining into your home to maximize heat gain. Insulating curtains can also be used to keep your home cooler in the summer, by using them when the sun is out, and opening them when temperatures are cooler at night.
If you don’t want to invest in curtains, a quick fix to reduce drafts is to hang plastic sheeting over the windows. This insulates the same way for a lower investment, trapping heat inside and cold outside. You’ll use less energy to heat your home, which will keep you cozier during the winter and save you some money on your utility bills.
#3 Use a Space Heater in Main Rooms
Another way to reduce heating costs and improve your home’s energy efficiency is to place a space heater in the main room or rooms of your home. This way you only heat where you spend the most time and don’t waste energy on your entire home. Space heaters use a lot of electricity themselves, so they likely won’t be a part of a net zero lifestyle, but can improve energy efficiency by supplementing heating your entire home to a cooler temperature, particularly if you tend to spend most of your time in one or two rooms.
Use space heaters with caution. Although very effective, they can be dangerous if misused. Use them sparingly, and only when you’re home to monitor them. Also, never plug space heaters into powerstrips, as they can overload the circuit and become a fire hazard.
#4 Add a Rug to Your Interior Design
It sounds simple, but adding a rug to a room improves the insulation and reduces energy costs. It also cuts down on noise, and ties together your interior design! Particularly for floors that tend to stay cool, like tile or concrete, a rug can be an effective insulator.
#5 Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Investing in a programmable thermostat is an effective way to help you track energy usage and the costs that come with it. Once you have a baseline of your typical energy usage you can adjust a program to save it.
With a programmable thermostat, you can run different programs depending on your regular weekly schedule. For example, allow your home to get cooler at night when you’re sleeping under extra blankets, or not use as much energy when you’re out of the house for work or gone on vacation. Then, it will warm up in the morning when you wake up or during the evening when you get home. Some thermostats can even detect when no one is home, and stick to a baseline temperature until movement is detected.
#6 Check Your Attic Insulation
The attic is another area of your home where heat and energy tend to escape. Warmer, less dense air rises and makes its way to the upper levels of your home. If your attic isn’t properly insulated, that heat will continue to rise and escape through your home’s roof. Insulating the attic floor will keep heat below where it belongs. It’s also better for your roof in the long term. Icicles and ice dams are often symptoms of an improperly insulated roofing structure.
#7 Lower the Thermostat
Although this seems like the most obvious solution, it can make a huge difference for the energy efficiency of your home. However, you don’t have to freeze during the winter, just to save on heating costs. Even a degree or two won’t make a huge difference in your comfort level, but will make a noticeable difference on your energy usage. This is the time of year to bring out the knit sweaters, fuzzy blankets, and thick socks, so show off your winter wardrobe and stay cozy while improving your home’s energy efficiency.
The more ways you find to improve your energy efficiency, the closer you get to the net zero lifestyle — when you can ditch reliance on the electrical grid altogether! Keep exploring ways to live more sustainably — it’s better for the earth and your budget.
If home energy savings are your goal, let Couch Mountain be your solution! Our community is home to green built homes that use energy efficient components and sustainable building materials wherever possible. At Couch Mountain, it’s even possible to reach net zero on your utilities! To learn more about our community, reach out to us online.
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