There’s no doubt that most of us have become more energy conscious over the past years.
One of the reasons for that is the harsh reality of how fast we’re depleting the resources of the planet we call home. But let’s face it, the fact that we’re somehow shocked every time we see those numbers on the electric bill play a role too.
With the winter almost here, we decided to put together a list of actionable tips you can use to cut that cost down.
So without much ado, let’s get to it.
The drafty windows
This one is pretty straightforward and common sense–you’ll need less energy to keep your home warm if it’s not as cold in the first place.
If you live in the house with big windows and doors, simply sealing the cracks that allow the cold to get in goes a long way.
Do a frame audit
Be smart about this, wait for an especially windy day to perform the “crack audit.”
You will feel the more obvious leaks on your hand but for the smaller ones, you’ll need a thin strip of light fabric. Bring it close to the frame and if there’s a leak, it will flicker.
The first step here would be to use silicone to plug the sources of the draft and then tape the insides of the frame with a clear plastic tape.
This should make a significant difference because if there’s one thing that can skyrocket your energy bill, its drafty windows.
If you can still feel the drought after applying the sealant, you can take it one step further by installing insulating shades/drapes on the problematic windows.
We don’t walk around our homes all the time but we do keep it warm just to be comfortable when grabbing something from the fridge or getting a glass of water.
But what about the nights? Is it energy-efficient to keep the whole house warm when you’re just staying in one place for 8 hours?
Heated electric blankets and throws
A heating blanket is what we had in mind when we said “localized heating.” These were all the rage about a decade or two ago but it didn’t last because of safety issues.
All the concerns people had back then are pretty much moot today though. The electric blanket technology was tweaked and there are now strict standards in place to ensure safety.
The appearance of a heated throw has also changed and you practically can’t tell the difference between these and a classic blanket or throw.
Choosing the best
We would still advise going with trusted brands and quality electric blankets like Sunbeam or Biddeford. You can always do more research by reading the reviews and base your decision on what other people are saying. It’s also smart to look at some tests performed by 3rd independent websites–we found some great information and reviews of the best electric blankets at thesleepstudies.com.
Using these blankets will allow you to turn the thermostat a few notches down (10 to 20°). This alone will lower the bill by more than 10% as per the energy.gov.
It’s also extra cozy–just imagine a quiet afternoon of watching back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV show wrapped in a warm, heated mink blanket with a mug of sweet cocoa in your hands.
To save energy, you should sleep on the ground floor in summer and the top floor during the cold winter months.
Hot air is lighter and rises, which means that the bedrooms on the top floor will be significantly warmer.
Optimize your attic insulation
You can’t do much about the way your home is built or how thick the walls are but what you can do is optimize the insulation of the attic.
Start by making sure that the thickness of the insulating layer is just right (it should be 12- 13″).
If you have that part that right, rearrange the boxes you have across the floor—put them on top of each other and move them into a corner. The reason for this is the fact that any pressure compresses the insulation, making it less efficient.
Paint your walls in warm colors
A space painted in aquamarine blue will have an impact on the way you perceive the temperature in the room. But the reasons for painting your space darker go beyond your perception.
It’s basic physics as well—the darker shades attract heat. It’s an elegant way to influence how temperature is distributed through the house.
A good rule of thumb here is to choose a warm, darker shade for space where you spend most of your time, like the living room.
Use the heat produced by appliances
Your oven and dishwasher/dryer are a significant source of heat and it’s smart to use that to your advantage.
Do your laundry and dishwashing at the times of the day when it usually gets colder.
The heat that they produce will spread around the house and allow you to lower the temperature setting on the thermostat, even if it’s just a few degrees.
Use the Sun
Even during winter months, the sunlight shouldn’t be shrugged off.
The drapes or curtains on the windows facing south should be open during the day to welcome the heat in.
Checking your heat appliances
This is probably the most obvious tip and that’s why we’re mentioning it last.
Whatever means of heating you’re using, they should be checked by a professional before the season starts.
A good example of how big of a difference this can make is the furnace.
In the “worst-case scenario,” you can make the mistake of leaving the furnace in “emergency” mode. This kind of thing can easily double your bill.
It’s all worth it
The tips that we went through above might not seem like a big deal on their own but combined, they make a huge difference.
Implementing them will no doubt result in a dip in your monthly bill and you’ll v=be positively surprised by your energy bill for the first time ever.
On top of that, you can take pride in being an energy-conscious person as well!