Seven cost-effective ways to save energy and money this fall
Fall is in full swing here in Southwest Iowa, and cooler weather is on the way. As always, it’s best to be ready for it.
Here are some of the best ways to save money and stay comfortable in cold weather months to come:
- Seal air leaks – The average American home leaks the equivalent of an open window’s worth of air through leaks around doors and windows and through walls, ceilings, and other cavities. That means less comfort for you, and more work for your furnace or boiler. Inexpensive measures like caulking around windows, weather sealing doors, and installing door sweeps can minimize leaks. Proper insulation is critical, too – check out these DOE insulation tips and guidelines.
- Use a programmable thermostat – Properly using a programmable thermostat can help you save 10 percent on your heating bills, says the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Aim for a temperature of 68 degrees for the best balance of comfort and energy efficiency when people are home, and drop that temperature when people are away or asleep.
- Use the sun’s heat – Leave your curtains and blinds open during the day to absorb the sun’s radiant heat; just make sure to close them at night to keep the heat in. Choosing better window treatments can help, too.
- Lower your water heater thermostat – Most water heater thermostats have a higher default temperature setting than you need; according to the DOE, 120 degrees is enough for most hot water applications in your home.
- Check and change air filters – If you have a forced air system (one with vents rather than baseboards or radiators), one of the most important DIY tasks for the fall and winter is to check and change the air filters on your furnace. Clogged air filters make your furnace work harder than it has to, which means higher bills and more maintenance for your equipment.
- Service your heating equipment – Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your heating systems operating at peak efficiency month after month, year after year. A tune-up will often pay for itself in improved efficiency alone, while also prolonging the life of your equipment.
- Install propane appliances – Replacing your old electric heating or water heating equipment with propane equipment can save you money on bills every month –typically enough to cover the cost of the upgrade in just a few years. In the meantime you’ll enjoy more comfort, better performance, and new warranty coverage.