Now that the weather is cooling and the leaves are beginning to fall, homeowners are preparing for the increased costs of keeping their homes heated and running throughout the colder months that lie ahead. This can lead to higher energy expenditures, but there are ways around that gloomy conclusion, we promise.
In our ongoing effort to keep with our Green Initiative, we’ve gathered up some reminders of simple ways to help you reduce energy consumption, and your energy bill, so you don’t have to sit in the dark and freeze in order to save money this winter.
1. Make sure your heating system is in good condition. Before turning on the heat this winter, change your heating system’s air filter. Take a peek at your ducts and seal up any holes in the joints using shiny foil tape with a UL-181 label or with duct mastic. In case you are wondering what duct mastic is, it’s a flexible sealant that varies in consistency from a pasty consistency similar to mashed potatoes to a much smoother consistency reminiscent of yogurt.
2. Keep that thermostat at 68°F. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you conserve 5% of your energy use. Instead of turning up the heat, throw on that Snuggie your grandmother gave you last Christmas and cuddle up with a loved one and some hot cocoa for extra warmth!
3. Just because summer is gone, doesn’t mean the sun is! According to Worldwatch, lighting consumes up to 34 percent of all electricity used in the U.S. During the day when there is some sunlight, open your curtains and let Mother Nature do the heating and the lighting. During the evening, pull the curtains closed to help stop heat from escaping through the glass and turn off all lights when you are not using them. Also consider replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for additional savings when using the lights is unavoidable.
4. Seal around your windows and doors. Seal up any cracks or leaks in your window and doorframes with caulk. This can be purchased at local hardware stores for less than 10 bucks.
5. Keep the draft out! Seal up the areas under exterior doors that are prone to letting warm air escape. You can use a rolled up towel pressed against the bottom of the door; or, if you want to get a little creative, Wikihow has a great tutorial on how to make your own Draft Dodger with ease.
6. Do a little redecorating. Rearrange your rooms so that places where you sit and sleep are not near big windows. If your sofa or bed has to be near a big window, you can add a little warmth and flair with some heavy curtains over that window or a cheery wall hanging.
7. Use More Energy-efficient Appliances. According to the US Department of Energy, appliances eat up 17 percent of the average electricity bill. If you are shopping for new appliances, make sure to look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label before making a purchase. Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water than their conventional counterparts.
8. Don’t turn off those ceiling fans – reverse them! Your fan is actually a great way to keep warm air circulating in your home. Most come equipped with a switch to reverse the direction that the blades turn. By flipping the switch and setting it on low, you can use your fan to push warm air that’s trapped up at the ceiling down to the living area.
Here at IOGEAR, we like to put our planet first, that’s why we stay true to our ongoing green initiative by applying earth-saving technological innovations to our product line. For instance, we create products that are 80% PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BFR (brominated flame retardants) free – minimizing our eco-footprint is high on our list of doing our part to help Mother Earth.
In what ways are you helping prolong our planet? Will you be incorporating any of our energy saving suggestions in your home? What tip did you find to be the most useful? Do you have any suggestions to share? Tell us here on our blog, or our company Facebook page!