Tips to Save Energy During the Cold Winter Months
Photo via Shutterstock.com
With Massachusetts National Grid customers facing a 34 percent increase in the cost of electricity this winter, homeowners need to take steps to reduce their energy usage. Ryan Williams, general manager of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric, gives tips to residents about how to save energy during the winter.
"Winter is coming, and so is a big hike in the cost of electricity for Massachusetts residents," Williams said. "Luckily, there are some easy steps that homeowners can take to help reduce the cost of keeping their homes warm during cold weather."
- Find and seal leaks. Cold air can leak into the home through minor cracks and gaps in windows and doorways. Seal any gaps with caulk or weather-stripping.
- Check the heating system's efficiency. Many homes in the Boston area are really old. This can mean inefficient and faulty heating systems that use extra energy to heat your home, costing you money. If you notice uneven heating or the system needs frequent repairs, schedule an inspection by a professional.
- Use energy-efficient holiday lights. The pretty holiday lights that decorate your home can burn electricity. Invest in LED Christmas lights to minimize energy usage. Look for ENERGY STAR® certified lights.
- Consider a programmable thermostat. During cold weather, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable when you are at home during waking hours. Reducing the heat by only a few degrees when you're sleeping or out of the house will help save money.
- Reduce heat loss through the fireplace. If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when it is not in use. Close the doors leading into the room when a fire is kindled and lower the thermostat temperature. If you never use it, seal the flue.
- Take advantage of sunlight. Naturally heat your home by opening curtains on south-facing windows during the day. Close curtains at night to protect your home from losing heat through the windows.
- Cover drafty windows. If your home does not have energy-efficient windows, tightly seal them with clear plastic sheets covering the frames.
- Reduce water heating costs. Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Or consider installing a tankless water heater that heats water as needed, saving costs in the long run.
- Replace air filters. Remember to replace air filters once a month. Dirty or clogged air filters force your heating system to work harder for proper airflow, using extra energy and raising costs.
- Consider a ductless mini-split heating system if the heating is uneven throughout the house. It allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms or spaces, it's easy to install, and is energy efficient to save energy costs.