You might have noticed: the cost of energy is rising. And we’re headed into the cold season. Try some of these ideas, to save yourself and the planet:
Seal holes around doors and windows
Air leaks: an excellent way to waste your heat and money. Thoroughly check all your windows and doors, and plug holes with calking. Have longer cracks? Use weather stripping. Bust those draft dodgers out of the closet, and seal the bottoms of all your doors. If this sounds like a hefty investment, check in with government energy agencies; low-income families can receive up to $6500 for weatherizing their homes.
Go heavy on the drapes
Window panes themselves lose a ton of heat. Invest in some heavy drapes—they’ll make a room cozier!—or insulating shutters. Then shut them every night.
Double up on windows
One more way to save money from escaping through your view: buy storm windows. They’re just another layer of window that you can take down again in the spring, and they can increase window efficiency by 45%. For a lower-tech option, buy some window plastic at the hardware store—if you put it up correctly, it’s virtually invisible, and adds important extra insulation. A professional contractor can also install “low-e” film to your windows, which can cut energy loss through windows by nearly half.
Close doors to unused rooms
Are there any rooms you don’t really live in during the winter? The attic, the mudroom, a guest room? Shut the doors to these rooms, and keep them closed, so that you’re not paying to heat spaces left unused. If you have walk-in closets, it’s a good idea to have solid doors on them, too. The cold burst of air in the morning will speed up your dressing process.
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees maximum during the day, and 55 max at night. For every degree you turn it down between 60 and 70, you’ll save up to 5% of your heating costs. Turning it down at night can save you up to 20%. If you don’t trust yourself to stick to this schedule, buy a programmable thermostat to do the work for you.
Plug appliances into a power strips
The days are shorter, the nights colder, and as a result you’ll probably spend even more time on electronics than usual. Cut your spending even as you up your usage by plugging electronics into a power strip. Turn it off during the day, and whenever the appliances aren’t in use—otherwise, they’re sucking energy from your sockets even when idle.
Stay tuned for more great ideas on energy conservation—we have so many tips, they won’t fit into one post!