It’s coming to be the time of year when utilities costs generally begin to rise, as our home’s insulation is truly put to the test, and you get a chance to see how efficient your home’s heating system is. When the winter time comes around, and the temperatures begin to plummet, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to save as much as possible on your monthly utilities, or else they could easily get out of hand. As your home begins to age, and the foundation starts to crack and deteriorate, putting into action a few small steps can be a huge difference maker between potentially hundreds of dollars per month. We’ve compiled some of our top tips for making your home more energy efficient before the winter cold starts jacking up your heating costs! If you have any additional tips for saving on home utilities, please reach out to us using our contact page, we’d love to hear your ideas!
Our most important tips have to do with ensuring that your home’s electrical appliances are up to date and running correctly, because one of the biggest money wasters from any homeowner’s perspective is a heater that rarely turns off, or a cold draft blowing underneath your doors or through your thin window panes. Filling up any gaps, cracks, and thin-layers of glass or plastic can be a huge help in reducing the cost of your utilities and saving energy in the long run. If you are noticing that your home is constantly cold, or your heater is running most of the day, then you may want to look into some actions you can take to reduce that usage, such as applying an insulating plastic layer over the interior of your windows, utilizing a foam-based “gap filler” to plug any potential holes in your walls/doors, and purchasing gap sealers – sliding pieces that attach to the bottoms of your doors, removing the small cracks from underneath. All of these products are excellent at increasing your energy conservation and ensuring your home’s utilities stay low.
If you are unsure of where to purchase insulating products, or don’t want to spend money and would rather look into more cost-efficient solutions, one great tip we used to use back in the day was to hang spare blankets and sheets over thin windows. These absorb a majority of the cold air that comes through, and always help to trap in warm air and continue circulating it throughout your home. If you haven’t be sure to check the air filters in your home’s HVAC system, and ensure that all of the major appliances are running correctly. In some cases, if you notice an abnormal spike in your utilities or energy usage, you may want to purchase a Kill-A-Watt system, which plugs into an outlet and allows you to see exactly how much energy an appliance is using. This is great to see if that room heater you are using is wasting more energy than it’s saving.
Once you’ve figured out the weak points in your home’s energy efficiency, it’s important that you take the proper steps to correct them. Spending $50-100 before the winter season begins could pay off in utility costs throughout the season, and the changes you implement will last for seasons to come as well. If you decide to opt for more expensive, but permanent solutions for your energy costs, then they will definitely pay off eventually. This is generally better if you plan on staying in your current home for years to come. If you are renting a home, you may want to pursue some of the more affordable, yet not as permanent solutions. Pursuing potential attic/crawl space insulation upgrades could be beneficial as well, if your system is older or outdated.