Ways To Conserve Energy In These Cooler Temperatures!

It’s that time of year again, and we are all facing the same thing- colder temperatures. During these chilly months it is easy to crank up the heat and not think twice about the damage your warm house is having on the environment.

How many times have you left your house for a full day at work and not turned the heat down? What you probably didn’t realize is that for every degree you turn down your thermostat you can save between 1% and 3% in your heating costs.

Want to learn more ways to make your home a winter wonderland for you, your family and the environment? Take a look at these helpful tips such as running your fans in reverse, changing your furnace filters and lowering the temperature of your water heater.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

It’s wasteful to heat an empty house, so why not take advantage of a programmable thermostat? These thermostats will automatically lower your household temperature while you sleep, are away at work, as well as bringing the heat back up when you wake or arrive home.

With proper use, you’ll never notice the difference in temperature, but your bank account certainly will — you could end up saving more than 10 per cent on your home heating costs. And now, with so many easy-to-use Energy Star certified options, like the new Ecobee Smart Thermostat, you can change your home heating and cooling preferences whenever you want with at-home display panels or online through your WiFi network.

Run Fans in Reverse

Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space – cutting your heating costs as much as 10%!

Turn Down your Water Heater

While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don’t need that much steam, and end up paying for it — in dollars and the occasional scalding burn. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F (or lower) would reduce your water heating costs by 6% to 10%.

If you start to wonder why you need a tank at all, then you may be ready for a tankless water heater, or to go solar. If you are in the market for a new water heater, take advantage of the federal tax credit, which pays 30% of the cost for solar water heaters, or up to $1,500 for conventional systems. (Note: 2011 tax credits are less generous.)

Dress To Impress

Gone are the days (for most of us at least) when we can afford to lounge around in our underwear while it’s frosty outside. Remember what we said about each degree on the thermostat costing you money?
Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4 degrees. So snuggle up and start saving.

Buy organic cotton thermal long johns for everyone in the family and wear layers of clothing made from breathable organic fabrics.

Seal It Up

One of the simplest ways to retain heat and reduce energy costs this winter is by installing proper weather-stripping and caulking around the house. Once all doors and windows are properly sealed, it’s time to plug those less obvious air leaks. An easy way to find hidden drafts is to hold a lit stick of incense around baseboards, light fixtures and electrical outlets – a strong leak will make the stick glow brighter and blow the smoke away, while smaller leaks will puff the smoke in a distinct direction.

Change Furnace Filters

Yes it’s easy to forget, but it’s important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.
Mind your pipes and gutters

By making sure that your gutters are clean and pipes are protected, you can save yourself some major repair headaches down the road. Keeping your gutters free of leaves, sticks and other debris will help melting snow and ice to flow freely, and prevent ice dams that can cause water damage to your home’s roof and walls.

Turning off the water to your outside garden hose spigots and draining the lines will  prevent water inside from freezing and expanding, which could lead to cracked pipes, water damage and waste. Also, look for any pipes inside that aren’t insulated and run through unheated spaces like garages and basements, and wrap them in insulation sleeves to prevent freezing and breakage — remember, there’s nothing worse than being knee-deep in a flooded basement in the dead of winter.

It’s likely you won’t even notice these small changes like this in your lifestyle, but what you will notice is the decrease in your heating bill, and future generations will notice the difference in state of the environment.

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