Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saving Energy in the Winter Can be Easier, and Cheaper, Than You Think

New York in Winter:Photo by  GK tramrunner
Of course you would like to save energy and money this winter, but the budget for installing new energy efficient windows or insulating the attic, is just not there. Don’t worry. Here are some free and easy ways to save on your energy bill this winter. Perhaps with the money you save heating your home this winter you can afford the more expensive energy savings ideas for next winter.

1. Let the sun heat your house. When the sun is shining, even during the winter, those powerful rays can warm the inside of your home. Give it a try. Don’t forget to close the drapes when the sun goes down to keep all that nice warm air inside where it belongs.

2. A little smart room design can help save energy. Place the furniture closer to interior walls. Family members will feel much warmer if they are not sitting adjacent to outer walls or drafty windows.

3. Fireplaces can be a real waste of energy. When in use much of the warmed air just goes right up and out the chimney. When not in use be sure to keep the damper completely shut. Before closing the damper make 100 percent certain there are no smoldering embers left. If you do decide to stop using your fireplace entirely, block off the chimney with a bit of rigid insulation which fits tightly into the space. Dampers simply do not completely shut off air leakage.

4. Check around the house for places you can save energy. Are the lights on in empty rooms? Is your spare fridge in the basement not really needed? Then unplug it. After they do their job turn off kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans.

5. Speed up shower time.  Heating water for showers accounts for about 67 percent of your water heating bill. Reducing the amount of water you use in the shower can be a huge money saver.

6. Use appliances in a more efficient way. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full. Don’t do a load of wash unless it’s also full. Most laundry can be successfully washed in cold water. Only use the hot water cycle when absolutely necessary. Always take out the lint when loading up the dryer. Use the automatic setting to shut off the dryer when it senses the clothes are dry.