Cooler weather has arrived, which means you’ve probably started to turn up your heat. Like everything else, energy costs have increased in recent months, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort to save money. There are a number of no-cost ways you can stay warm without overheating your budget.
Several factors should be considered when it comes to circulating air throughout your home.
- Be sure heat registers are clear from furniture and curtains so heat can circulate freely.
- Use a ceiling fan on low speed to force warm air down into the occupied space. This is especially useful in rooms with vaulted or high ceilings. Be sure to switch fans to rotate clockwise in the winter months.
- Check your furnace filter each month and replace it when it begins to look dirty or at least every three months.
One of the easiest, most effective ways to reduce your energy costs without decreasing your comfort is to setback your thermostat when you’re away or asleep. ENERGY STAR® recommends adjusting your thermostat eight degrees cooler than when you’re home and awake. This can help you save eight percent on your energy costs.
Insulation and sealing can help you save up to 10% on annual energy costs. Though this requires the purchase of materials like caulk, weather stripping and other insulating products, most of the work can be done yourself. See the ENERGY STAR® sealing and insulation guide to help you identify common air leaks, seal gaps and add insulation where needed. You can also close curtains at night to seal out the cold and open curtains on sunny days to take advantage of the warming rays.
The following are things people may do in hopes of saving energy, however, they could actually lead to higher costs and should be avoided.
- Closing heating vents in unused rooms puts added pressure on your heating system, causing it to work harder in order to achieve optimal comfort. This can lead to higher energy costs or more costly repairs to your system and should be avoided.
- Electric space heaters are one of the most inefficient ways of heating your space and are associated with a number of safety risks. Consider using an electric blanket, which uses roughly 73% percent less electricity than a space heater, or add a layer of clothing to improve your comfort.
- Fireplaces are another heating source that many think will help reduce energy costs. Although fire is cozy to snuggle up by, it is an inefficient way to heat your home and fireplace chimneys are a major source of heat loss.