Autumn and winter cause temperatures to drop rapidly, especially at night, and keeping the house warm throughout the winter can be expensive; fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to warm a house or apartment during fall and winter without spending a fortune on heating costs. Energy-efficient methods of heating the house and saving money benefit the family, the environment and the checkbook. Use a few simple methods to stay warmer and save money.
Energy Efficient Heating – Winter Heating Costs
Saving money while heating the house efficiently are two easy ways to help the environment and stay warmer. Simple things like the way the curtains are used during the day and at night can make a big difference in keeping the house warm. Open the curtains during the day to let sunlight into the house, and close them at night to help keep the heat in. This is a simple step to keeping the house a few degrees warmer, and it can save a great deal of money.
Ensure that the house is properly insulated. Good insulation on a house is key to keeping the heat inside and circulating instead of escaping through the walls and seals of the home. Properly insulating a house can save energy and money throughout the entire year by helping to regulate the temperature and creating energy efficient heating.
Energy Efficient Windows – Sealing Heat Inside
Check all windows at the beginning of autumn to ensure that there are no leaks, cracked seals or broken windows. These can quickly become a major heat and energy drain on the home, causing cold air to enter the house and lowering the temperature throughout the day and night. Seal windows and exterior doors with fresh caulk to help prevent costly leaks.
Winter Heating Methods – Keeping the House Warm
Heating the house during fall and winter can be a challenge, as heating the home is expensive and uses a great deal of energy. Heating the house properly can keep energy use and costs lower. Turn the heat down during the day when no one is home. Lowering heat use for an empty house saves both energy and money.
Keep the heat at a low but comfortable temperature throughout the winter and use a fireplace, sweaters and blankets to stay warm instead of using unnecessary energy. Close all interior doors during the day to keep heat within a room and ensure that it feels warmer.
Electric Heating Systems – What are the Benefits of a Boiler?
Electric heating systems are an energy-efficient method of turning electricity into heat for the home. Although they do require a boiler for houses and apartment units, there are a number of advantages to using an electric heating system. The heating system works quickly, lasts for many years, can be adjusted on a room-to-room basis and operates quietly within the house.
Installing an electric heating system with a boiler is a costly way to improve home heating, but its energy efficiency and long-term benefits make this a good option for homeowners who are looking to decrease the environmental impact of their home.
Keeping the house warm during autumn and winter can be a chore. Following a few simple methods, such as lowering the heat during the day and leaving the curtains open to catch natural heat, can help maintain a comfortable home temperature without damaging a bank balance or the environment.
Simple Ways to Control Summer Energy Costs
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills.” Cooling systems, used in the summer months account for 12 percent of these costs.
In addition to driving high-energy use, cooling systems contribute to climate change. According to the DOE, heating and cooling systems “emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year… generate about 12 percent of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and four percent of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.”
Reduce Hot Weather Energy Use
While it may seem difficult to reduce energy use, especially in parts of the country that see triple digits, it is possible to cut energy costs in the hot summer months. By maintaining and upgrading equipment, using the appropriate level of insulation and air sealing, and adjusting thermostat settings, homeowners can slash energy use and significantly reduce environmental emissions. Here are nine easy-to-implement ideas:
- adjust the thermostat- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer. Each degree above 78 can save families one percent.
- insulate – Proper insulation decreases the cooling needed to provide effective resistance to outdoor heat moving indoors. Ensure walls and attics are properly insulated. Attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective energy saving measures, and one someone can do by himself. For specific recommendations on how much insulation a home needs, use the DOE’s Zip Code Insulation calculator.
- service air conditioners – Have cooling systems professionally serviced annually, regularly replace air filters and clean the outside of the unit. Besides age, the condition of an air conditioner can cause it to be less efficient. If it is more than 12 years old, consider replacing it with one that has a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14.0 or higher.
- weatherize – Prevent drafts by placing weather-strips and caulk around windows and doors. Replace existing weather-stripping that is not in good condition.
- cover or insulate outlets – Stop hot air from coming in through electric outlets. Use outlet covers or remove plates and insert special insulation underneath.
- install ceiling fans – Install ceiling fans to spread cool air more evenly around a room. Fan direction should be down for the summer. In addition, use portable fans to help feel more comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Turn all fans off when no one is home.
- use blinds and drapes – Close window treatments on sunny summer days to keep heat out, especially on windows receiving direct sunlight.
- install programmable thermostats – Installing a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to easily adjust the temperature overnight or when the house is not occupied. It is possible to reduce cooling costs by up to 20 percent.
- minimize pool pump running time– Avoid running a pool pump all the time. Eight hours is sufficient. By controlling usage, it is possible to reduce summer energy expenses.