With the extreme cold we’ve been facing in Indiana the last few winters and the high heating bills, it might make sense to have an energy audit performed, if your home is more than a few years old. During an energy audit, a certified auditor will test the furnace and hot water heater, perform a blower door test to see how leaky your home is, check your weatherstripping for drafts and more. If you are considering having more insulation installed in your home, or are thinking about having your furnace replaced, why not get a prioritized list of improvements before wasting money on upgrades that won’t work?
- For single family home owners check out Indiana Home Comfort Solutions which offers energy audits. Just fill out the form and someone will contact you with the next steps!
If you are just looking for ways to cut energy costs without much hassle, this short list below includes ways to keep bills at bay during the fall and winter months.
What you can do on your own
- Utilize the natural light more. Open the blinds on south-facing windows and let the sunlight in. It will warm the house and provide light in rooms during the day. Then close them at night to reduce the cold.
- Insulate or Cover Windows. Heavy duty drapery can help with keeping cold air out of your house. Using insulation kits found at local hardware stores are a very inexpensive way to keep cold air outside and warm air in. Sometimes caulk is needed to seal up leaky windows and can be done quickly and inexpensively.
- Use your thermostat throughout the day. During the hours that you are awake and home, keep the temperature as low as you can handle. While sleeping or gone, drop the temp a good 10 degrees lower than you have it while awake (but during really cold winter days don’t drop it below 68 degrees as you don’t want your pipes to freeze). Consistently keeping it cooler for 8-10 hours a day can save 10% a year on energy bills. Tip: programmable thermostats can help you change temps consistently and can be set to start warming up as people arrive home from work or school or wake up in the morning.
- Seal air leaks. Similar to sealing up the windows, check gaps around chimneys (if you do not use the fireplace, plug and seal the flue), check where the gas line comes in for the stove, around recessed lighting, and outlets – anywhere that leads to outside. These cracks or holes allow warm air to escape and the cold air to come in. Local hardware stores have weatherstripping for doors and caulk for the DIYer or call a handyman to come fix the leaks for you.
- Routine maintenance. Keep up with yearly or seasonal checkups on the furnace or heat pump, change filters, cleane the fireplace, etc.. Overworking the systems because of a dirty filter or clogged pipe will lead to trouble and higher energy costs.
- Regulate the water heater. Lower the temperature to 120 degrees, which helps prevent burns and keeps costs down.
- Strategically choose Holiday lights or decorative features outside. Make the switch to LED bulbs for Holiday lights and outdoor fixtures. Keep outside lights on timers so they shut off when it is daylight instead of later in the morning. Try to choose bulbs or light strands with ENERGY STAR® ratings or find outdoor lighting with solar charging options.
Most utility companies offer ways to save on bills and emissions. Simply search their website if you do not see your company listed above. A little bit of conservation will help not only your wallet but the environment, too!