How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient for Winter
As the change in season is fast approaching, and the temperatures begin to drop, your home energy usage will almost certainly increase. This increase is typically caused by residents needing to heat their homes more often, but it is also due to people staying inside and keeping the lights on more as well.
Conserving energy throughout the winter has multiple benefits; it will make your home more environmentally-friendly and save you money on your bills. Luckily, there are several ways to make your home more energy efficient this winter to help you cut down on your overall energy consumption. Depending on your budget, here are three of the best strategies to help you save energy:
Seal Air Leaks
If you’re experiencing freezing temperatures outside, you’re probably blasting the heat inside. Unfortunately, a significant amount of this heat may leak out of your home through windows and doors, requiring you to use even more energy to maintain the temperature you prefer. By sealing air leaks throughout your home, you will be able to save a significant amount of energy throughout the winter.
A cheap fix is to add new weatherstripping to doors and windows, which are typically the main causes of drafts in your living area. There are several materials you can choose from local hardware stores, such as bronze or rubber, and most can even be self-installed. You could also use caulking for any noticeable leaks you may have.
If it’s within your budget, you may consider purchasing and installing Energy Star qualified windows. Although they may cost thousands of dollars, the energy efficiency will not only help you save money on bills, but also increase your home value later on down the road. With the help of a home value estimator, you can determine the current value of your home. Then, by factoring in the expected increase in value, you will be able to determine the percentage of your investment you may recuperate.
There’s two ways adjusting your lighting can affect your home energy usage. One way can reduce your electricity bill when you leave the lights on, and the other can reduce the amount of energy required to heat your home. Both are cost-effective changes you can easily make.
First, you should consider switching your incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs. LEDs are up to 80% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and their bulb life may be anywhere from 3 to 25 times longer! While they cost more initially, you won’t have to replace them as often, and you will undoubtedly save money throughout the year on your energy bills. LED bulbs are kind on your wallet and the environment.
Second, try to utilize natural lighting to heat your home at no extra cost. The more sunlight you let into your home, the warmer it will become due to the greenhouse effect. By garnering heat from the sun, you won’t have to use as much energy to supplement your home with additional heat. While you can’t easily change the location of your home and windows in relation to the sun, it’s important to be cognizant of how the sun changes positionally throughout the day, and leave your drapes and blinds open to let all of the light in.
Upgrade Your HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It’s the system that regulates your internal air temperature and quality. If your HVAC system is older and hasn’t been upgraded in some time, there are a couple of different options for you to make it more energy efficient before winter sets in.
One of the cheapest fixes is to replace all of the filters in your HVAC system. Old, dirty filters can soil your air quality and require your system to work harder. The harder your system works, the more energy it requires, which means your energy bills will increase. Replacing your filters will not only reduce your energy bill, but also lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC system, saving you money in the long haul.
Much like window replacements, you can also choose to replace your entire HVAC system for a more modern, energy efficient option. The benefits are basically the same as well. Although it will cost thousands of dollars to install, you can save on energy bills, and recuperate your costs by increasing your home value. Furthermore, for certain qualified HVAC systems, you may be able to claim a tax credit to cover up to 10% of the cost.
Importance of Making Your Home More Energy Efficient
Dropping temperatures caused by the change of season can create drastic changes in your home’s energy usage and energy efficiency. In order to make your home more energy efficient this winter, consider making various changes and installations throughout your home now. Doing so will help you live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, as well as reduce your energy bills in the long run.
I also suggest installing a smart thermostat! In addition to making your life much more comfortable, a smart thermostat helps save money on utility bills.
You can significantly reduce energy consumption by lowering the temperature while you are sleeping or away. On average, these savings account for 8% of heating and cooling bills.
I love the idea of installing a smart thermostat. But be careful when setting a lower temperature when you’re sleeping or away – too low a temperature on cold winter days may cause frozen pipes. Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above.