Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Now that the cold months are nearly upon many of us we wanted to share some ideas about how to make your house more energy efficient. As much as 60% of your energy bill can go to heating your house. Here are some tips to cut down on the amount of energy you are losing.
Tip: Looking for drafts? Hold a piece of tissue up around doors and windows. When the tissue flutters, you have a draft that is affecting your heating bill.
Here some other things you can do that require a little more money, time and effort.
- Hang Dry For Savings -
I find that washing clothes in cold water gets the colored clothes perfectly clean, letting sweaters, blouses, etc. fluff in the dryer, then hanging them on hangers to finish drying saves me at least 20 dollars a month off my electric bill.
- Free Evaluation -
Many natural gas companies will provide a no-charge evaluation of your home's heating efficiency. They use a high-power fan to test for drafts, by putting the fan in a main doorway, closing all other entrances.
If you heat with natural gas, it's worth calling your provider to see whether this service is available.
Set the thermostat back at night while you are sleeping. I've gotten used to 55 degrees. If you live in an extremely cold climate you may want to insulate your water pipes.
You know, regarding setting back thermostats.....I actually turn mine up at bedtime and then turn it down during the day. When we sleep, it is only for 7-8 hours, it is colder at night, and my sons are notorious for kicking blankets off and waking up because they are cold. During the day, we do not turn on lights, the house is set at 65 (and the heat never kicks on). We open all the shades and let the sun light and heat the house. If we get cold, we put on socks and a sweater (usually just me!) I figure it this way, if you are gone during the day (and it is warmer) why heat an EMPTY house?
WE HAVE SWITCHED TO USING FLOURESCENT BULBS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE THEY ARE MUCH CHEAPER TO USE
I bought the round circular bulbs to screw into my lamps about 8 years ago, I think the initial outlay was maybe 6 apiece then. I have never replaced them and they get used a LOT!! I have also had two major moves to other states...can't believe they have lasted so long!! It was a great investment and worth every penny.
Check with your power company, your county, state, and nonprofit organizations to see if there are any free weatherization programs available. I did and had my house completely weatherized (insulation, solar attic fan, window repair and more) for free. These programs require an application process. In some cases, there are funds available for more energy-efficient appliances, such as a furnace. The weatherization is focused on making the house airtight, to plug up leaks around windows, attics, doors, and walls. There could be a 30% savings in energy with weatherization.
By Mary from Kensington, MD
Most areas have Community Action Agencies in each county which get grants to provide weatherization services to low income households.
We got our weatherization done free by our local county agency, about a year ago. Hubby still complains about the new fridge, which seems cheap to him, especially when compared to the one it replaced. I'm very happy with the furnace, though. It has a tactile thermostat, so even I can tell whether it's set on 68 or 74, lol! Our heat and electricity bills are definitely down, but we're still trying to get used to having to violently slam the front door just to get it to latch. Everything got replaced except for the hot water heater because there were unexpected fixes that sapped the overall weatherization budget. I don't think they did too badly, though, considering that our house is probably about 150 years old!
Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Energy for making your hot water use more efficient:
We installed a tankless water heater that only heats the water as you need it. It heats the water instantly as you need it. My husband could install it himself, and we save money monthly on our electric bills.
Hope these tips work for you!
By Dorothy from New Creek, WV
Good works, all. Here's another one.
Move the heater gauge down to a "normal" heat that won't hurt your hands. My personal temperature "feel" is what my shower feels like. Take it as hot at you like straight from the hot, and adjust your heater for that temp. You won't need water hotter than that for any reason, even to wash dishes. Clothes get clean using warm/cold.
Note: As your heater ages, the temperature of your hot water rises. Not sure why. Read it somewhere and it is true! My heater is now 15 yrs. old and I keep having to reduce the temperature to keep the hot water from burning my hands straight from the faucet! I help other older retired residents in my apartment complex to adjust their heaters, also. The heaters are all the same age!
The Home Energy Saver website has a useful tool for determining how much you spend on energy and how much having a more energy efficient house can save you. You can easily save 500 or more dollars a year if your house is currently equipped with insufficient insulation, single pain windows and/or old appliances.
Replacing appliances and windows is an expensive proposition but atleast you can factor in the yearly savings when making a purchasing decision. Some improvements are pretty easy to do youself and pay off quickly. Like installing insulation around your water heater. Installing insulation under your house and in your attic can also be done relatively cheaply if you do it yourself.
Check out the Energy Advisor and find out how your house rates: http://hes.lbl.gov/