Even though it is still in the mid-eighties in some parts of the country, it won’t be long before fall and winter set in. Annually, we try to remind everyone about things you can do around your home to get ready for the fall by publishing a list of the top 20 Energy Conservation tips. We gather them from various utilities and government sites, and switch them up from year to year, some you have heard of, but most bear repeating. This issue we will deal with the first five, not in any specific order.
1) A couple of simple, no cost solutions. Conservation is the first step to saving energy. Wear socks and a sweater. Maybe not for everyone, but this can seriously reduce your energy consumption and save dollars. Lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree and save 3% on your energy use.
2) Spend $20 to save $20. Using a water heater blanket if your water heater is more than 5 years olds can save 5-9% on your annual water heating bill due to the reduction of heat loss. After your initial investment you will save every year.
3) Install a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the temperature at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night can reduce your heating bill by 10 to 20 percent. If you work during the day, or if there is no one at home during the day, we suggest a thermostat that has 7 day settings. This will allow you to automatically set the thermostat back when you leave the house and turn back on just before you arrive home. Then repeat the set back steps for the evening when you go to bed and wake up.
4) Inspect your furnace filters. They probably need changing anyway from the summer a/c, so might as well get that taken care of now. Clean filters allow your fans to work easier and can save 5-15% on energy costs. To save even more, consider buying reusable filters that can be periodically rinsed of the dust. While they can be a bit cumbersome to clean (we do it in the shower) they will save you money and minimize the landfill impact. There is a Smartphone add out called Smoke Alarm Ninja that will remind you to change the filters and your smoke alarm batteries too.
5) Get a humidifier. If you don’t have one already, get one. Moister air feels warmer, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable even though your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. The proper humidity level can be subjective though. You want to feel comfortable, but if there is too little humidity in the air your body tends to want the furnace temp to be higher. Too much humidity and you risk mold or mildew. If it is very cold outside, too much humidity will start former layers of ice inside of non-thermal pane windows that can result in rot. The ideal humidity is somewhere between 30-55%, but you will need to finesse this.
We will publish the next 5 tips in a week or so, so be sure to come back or sign up for our newsletter at e3living.com