Do You Want to Save Money on Your Electric Bill This Winter?
Loved ones gathered around a warm, crackling fire evokes a romantic image of winter. But it also highlights the cold truth about winter weather. It takes a lot of energy to keep a house warm during cold months. How can energy bills be lowered and yet keep the indoors comfortable?
Here are five low-cost ways to save money on your gas bill and reduce electrical usage this winter.
1. Caulk and weatherstrip. Gaps and cracks around windows, doors, plumbing pipes and electrical outlets let in a lot of cold air. Closing gaps is easy, inexpensive and can save up to 10 percent on heating bills. Most hardware stores sell foam inserts to place behind electrical outlets, expanding foam sealant to insert around plumbing and door sweeps that close the gap between the threshold and the floor.
2. Add insulation. Many older homes do not have adequate insulation. Check the R-value of insulation in the attic. Adding insulation can reduce annual energy usage by up to 30 percent. Check the amount of insulation in crawl spaces, walls and ceilings, and add additional insulation to achieve the R-value recommended for each space. In the Portland, Ore., area, attic R-values should range between R38 and R60.
3. Close fireplace dampers. Fireplaces are attractive, but they are highly inefficient. An open damper draws heated air up the chimney, creating the same effect as if a window were wide open. When a fire is lit, slightly open a window and close the door to the room. Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used. If the fireplace is merely decorative and not used at all, seal the flue.
4. Maintain furnace and filters. One of the most effective ways to maximize winter savings is to keep the furnace in good working order. Annual tune-ups examine all elements of a system to ensure that the unit works properly and is safe to operate. Clean or replace filters every month or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Dirty filters not only affect efficiency. They are also a fire hazard.
5. Turn down the thermostat. Each degree the temperature is lowered translates to saving between 2 and 5 percent on heating costs. Setting the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for at least 8 hours a day can save 10 percent a year on energy costs.
To find out more about how to save money on electricity, reduce the gas bill and stay comfortable this winter, contact a local professional. The company will evaluate the ways energy is used in your home and recommend ways to increase winter savings on fuel.