No matter what role you play in life or what your career is–a Smith Transport driver in the trucking industry, healthcare, finance and insurance, non-profit, real estate, food services or arts & entertainment field–we all have one thing in common: we want to save money on our home heating bill. Wintertime brings a chill to us all, and keeping a cozy home is a must during these few months. Heating and cooling account for 56% of the energy use in a typical American home, according to the Department of Energy.
But how can you maintain a nice and toasty home while keeping your energy bill low? Smith Transport has put together five tips to reduce your home heating bill this winter season:
1. Insulation – Insulation is your home’s all-purpose force field against high energy bills. It minimizes heat transfer in winter and summer, provides ventilation to control moisture and makes your home more livable. Bringing your attic insulation up to code for your region is one of the most cost-effective ways to winter-proof your home.
Before you begin on insulation, be sure to seal all ductwork, plumbing and cable TV penetrations. Leaky ducts can account for 10% – 30% of heating and cooling cost. To bring a typical attic up to code, it may cost between $500 – $1,000. But, you will save roughly 20% off your monthly bill, with return on investment in as little as one year.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat Accordingly – Who says you can’t change the weather? We alter the temperature inside our homes all the time with the press of a button or the turn of a dial on our thermostat. What many of us fail to do is alter our thermostats accordingly to save us money.
You can save 10% on your winter heating bills by adjusting your thermostat 10 – 15 degrees cooler for the hours you’re at work, according to the Department of Energy. Whether you are a truck driver on the road or at the office for eight hours, cut it back while you are away or when you sleep and you might save 20%.
3. Dial Back Your Hot Water Setting and Soak Up Savings – The Department of Energy estimates that water heaters account for 14% – 25% of our monthly energy bill. Most homeowners’ water heaters are typically on 24/7. Water heaters are often factory-set at 140 degrees, hot enough to scald. The Department of Energy says most of us can live comfortably with 120-degree water. You can save 3% – 5% on your water heating costs for every 10 degrees of setback.
To save even more, you can reduce hot water use with low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
4. Throwing Money “Out the Window” – Many homes lose costly heat the old-fashioned way: through outdated windows (they could almost be considered big holes in your walls!) Double-pane thermal windows arrest the heat transfer by inserting dead-air space between two panes. Unlike single-pane windows, which can lose more heat in winter than they let in, energy-efficient windows enable homes to take advantage of free solar heating during chilly weather.
Create your own energy-saving dead-air space by affixing clear plastic sheeting over the interior opening of unused windows. Energy-efficient double-pane windows start at around $150. A whole-house window upgrade can save 16% – 21% on annual heating costs, according to EfficientWindows.org.
5. Space Heaters, Fans and Energy Monitoring Apps –
- Reverse your ceiling fans: It will help circulate rising heated air down to where you need it.
- Close heating vents and doors to little-used rooms.
- Insulate outlets and light switches with inexpensive switch insulators to eliminate these small but numerous energy leaks.
- Replace the light bulbs you leave on longest with CFL, or compact flourescent light, bulbs. They use 75% less energy and save $40 in energy costs over their lifetime.
- Download an energy-monitoring app: New energy monitoring applications can help you monitor your energy use in real time from your computer or smartphone (such as eMonitor on iTunes.)
Smith Transport hopes these five money-smart ways to bundle up your home this winter will keep more money in your pocket this time of year. Stay warm!
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