While we reflect on the glitz and excitement of the holidays, many of us will be spending more time indoors, hibernating until spring arrives. So, it’s perfect that today, January 10, is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! It’s the chance to implement energy-saving methods and tools to help stay cozy while keeping utility bills low all winter. Here are five tips for getting started.
1. Give the Heating System a Checkup
Routine maintenance ensures that furnaces, heat pumps, and other heating systems operate efficiently and at reduced cost. The US Department of Energy (DOE) recommends replacing furnace filters once a month or as recommended. If you install a furnace filter whistle, you won’t have to worry about setting a calendar reminder to switch out an old one; it’ll emit a whistle when the filter is 50% clogged.
2. Use a Smart or Programmable Thermostat
Pair a well-serviced heater with a smart or programmable thermostat to ensure that the heater doesn’t work harder than it needs to. Many models allow you to sit back and relax while the devices do all the hard work of temperature monitoring and adjusting. The Google Nest Learning Thermostat, for example, learns temperature preferences, builds a schedule around them, then automatically adjusts as needed. Bonus: Change or override these settings, from anywhere, with a mobile app.
3. Seal Away Drafts
Home should be a cocoon against the outside elements, but it can be easy to overlook cracks and gaps until you feel a cold blast of air one winter night. Weatherization tools can cheaply and easily keep all that good, warm air inside, and they do it without the expense of replacing entire windows or doors that might have become worn and damaged over time. Solve a rattly window with a Simply Conserve window kit. Prevent smaller door and window leaks with bottoms, caulks and tapes, and other weatherstripping. These small improvements can add up to $372 of annual savings on energy bills, says the DOE.
4. Brighten Up Your Bulbs
Daylight becomes a precious commodity during the cold months. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED models to keep indoor spaces illuminated even after the sun goes down. According to the DOE, they operate 75% more efficiently and can save an average household up to $225 per year in lighting costs. Plus, LED technology has come far in just a few short years. For example, our A19 Smart Bulb can change brightness and color based on daily activities, and these settings are easily adjustable through a mobile app.
5. Let the Savings Flow
It takes a LOT of water to keep ourselves clean. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that a family of four can spend up to $600 annually in water-related energy bills, accounting for more than 50,000 gallons of water. But installing WaterSense® labeled products will give you the same pressure and luxurious warm shower you crave in the winter while lowering energy costs. Efficient faucet aerators and showerheads use non-aerated streams to minimize temperature loss, meaning the water heater can expend less energy. Users can still enjoy full-force streams, though, thanks to pressure-compensating technology. Thermostatic shower devices increase savings even more by automatically pausing water flow until it's heated to 95 degrees, so bathers can continue their routines without worrying about waste.
Happy National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! We hope this list gets you off to a great start. Need advice or more information? Get in touch!