Approximately 40% of winter home energy bills involves heating. Here are some simple tips for cutting back on your home energy costs this winter:
--Change furnace air filters regularly (once a month or according to manufacturer's recommendations).
--Schedule a cleaning/maintenance call each year for your furnace.
--Install a programmable thermostat.
--Turn down the heat one degree during the day. Lower the heat by ten degrees at night.
--Make sure your furniture and carpets don't cover or block vents or air ducts.
--Add weather-stripping around doors and windows.
--Install thermo-pane windows in your home.
--Insulate your top floor ceilings and attic.
--Replace window screens with storm windows.
--Close the damper on the chimney flue when not in use.
--Cover your windows with insulated blinds or curtains. Or make window quilts for the winter months.
--Insulate yourself! Wear a sweater and insulated slippers in the house. Buy a down comforter for your bed.
--Use compact florescent lights, especially in outside lighting like porch lights that are left on for long periods of time.
--Use photo-cells or motion sensors for outdoor lights.
--Open drapes when the sun is shining in your windows (helps to provide both light and passive heat), and be sure to remember to close the drapes at night to keep the heat in.
--Turn off lights when you leave a room.
--Insulate your older water heater.
--General rule of thumb: If you aren't using it, turn it off!
--Unplug electronics and electric appliances when not in use (battery chargers, hair appliances, computers).
--Use a power strip as a central turn off point for electronics, videos games, and computers when not in use..
--Use the right size pot on the stovetop.
--Always run full loads of both laundry and dishes.
--If you have a newer model dishwasher, don't rinse dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher.
--Install an energy efficient showerhead which will not only save on water usage, but also save money on water heating.
--Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Hot water heating uses 90% of the electricity used to run your washing machine.
--Use the correct water level when washing clothes.
--Don't over-dry your clothes. Hang to dry -- or to finish drying -- whenever possible.
--Empty your lint trap before each load.
Author of the bestselling Frozen Assets series, Frugal Living For Dummies(r), Mix-and-Match Recipes, and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity. Editor of Simple Times, Solo Parents, and Bright-Kids e-zines http://thesimplemom.com