With temperatures lowering and days getting shorter, energy bills are rising. It can be easy to rack up energy costs in your home without even realizing it. The U.S. Department of Energy looked at the average home’s energy use, resulting in the following breakdown:
- 42% Space Heating
- 18% Water Heating
- 6% Cooling
- 5% Lighting
- 5% Refrigeration
- 24% “Phantom Energy
This evaluation shows that heating is the top energy source used in homes, meaning it is also where most of your money will go to in your utility bills. The typical U.S. family spends more than $2,500 a year for home utility bills, so knowing how to reduce that cost is a priority for homeowners. Knowing how to maintain and control your energy used in your home will help lower costs while also improving the health of your home. Here are five things you can do to save energy while saving your money.
1. Adjust your thermostat
Lowering your home’s thermostat is a quick and easy way to save. When you leave your home or are asleep at night, try turning your thermostat down by 10 degrees and then turning it back up when you get home or in the morning. This can save you around 10% of your heating bill. A comfortable setting for your home’s thermostat can be less than 70 degrees and you can install a programmable thermostat so that your temperature is on a pre-set schedule. The lower the temperature in your home, the slower heat is lost, meaning the more energy you save.
2. Inspect insulation
Check the insulation in your home from your basement, attic, ceilings and floors. Proper insulation will help reduce costs by keeping your home energy efficient. The best way to check your insulation is to hire a professional to examine the type of insulation your home has, what rooms are insulated, and the R-value (thermal resistance) of the insulation. Once your home has been inspected you will be able to assess whether you need to install more insulation or update your current insulation.
3. Seal air leaks
The first step to sealing air leaks in your home is to find the leaks. Most air leaks come from windows or doors that are not sealed properly, but other hidden leaks can come from holes in the attic or basement that you may be unaware of. Adding weatherstripping around doors or caulking the connections between windows and walls can help seal air leaks to reduce heat loss. This will further lower your energy bills by controlling ventilation of outdoor and indoor air, which directly impacts air quality and costs.
4. Heating system maintenance
Maintaining your home’s heating is crucial to keeping an efficient system. This can involve checking your thermostat connections, to replacing your furnace filter. Making sure that your home’s heating system is updated, tested, and properly functioning will help keep your heating at peak performance. While you can clean and change filters on your own, some other check-ups can be more extensive, like checking gas connections and equipment controls. It can be beneficial to both you and your home to hire a contractor to complete this inspection for you. A professional will have the required knowledge to perform all tests and inspections thoroughly to ensure that your energy is efficient throughout your house.
5. Check your fireplace
You can reduce heat loss in your home by cleaning and checking your fireplace. To make sure that heat doesn’t escape through your chimney, keep your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. Keeping the heat in and air out can also be done by sealing unused fireplaces or caulking around the fireplace hearth. If you have a fireplace and a heating system in your home, avoid running both at the same time. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, consider switching to a gas, which will reduce air pollution and save you on energy costs.