How much do you pay for heating? Depending on where you live, it’s a good chunk of money during the wintertime. Even though we live in the South (in lovely Raleigh!), we’re not immune to getting some cold weather.
With winter coming up, we’re setting aside time this season (while this fall weather is crisp, yet comfortable) to prepare our house so we can keep our electric bill reasonable.
Best Ways to Winterize Your Home and Save Money
Are you looking to make sure you’re ready for the upcoming cold weather? Would you like to save some significant money? Set aside time over the next few weekends to tackle small projects around the house so you’re not overwhelmed (and possibly skip out on doing them).
The good news is that preparing your place doesn’t have to require complicated skills or a ton of your time. In fact, as long as you’re comfortable following the instructions on the packages or able to watch a Yutorial on YouTube, you’re in a good spot.
If you want to minimize your electric bill this winter, here are easy and effective 10 ways you can winterize your home!
Change your air filters.
This is possibly the easiest DIY project you can take on. It’s also a fantastic way to help your HVAC last longer. Keeping that system in tip-top shape means fewer expenses repairs down the line.
Easy to grab from the store or order online, go ahead and swap out your old ones with the new ones. To do our entire house, it takes about 5 minutes.
Keeping a regular schedule can be tough so you can either set up a reminder on your phone or set up an automatic subscription to get your filters. The recommended schedule is every three months so about once a season.
Protect Your Pipes
Cold weather can not cause the annoyance of frozen pipes, it can be a huge headache and hot to your wallet when unprotected pipes burst. It’s usually not a problem with insulated spaces, but pipes by the exterior wall or that run in an uninsulated space like the attic can be an issue.
You can minimize your risk by insulating the pipes and locating and sealing any opening in walls where the pipes come in.
Switch out your drapes
You may not consider them to be a big deal, but drapes can be a cost-effective way to stay warm this winter. Did you know that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that proper curtains can help you save 25% on your heating bill?
How? By adding that layer, you’re increasing the insulating effects of your window coverings. If you don’t have draperies with lining, you can layer curtains or shop for a deal.
Cover your water heater
Just like having a jacket can keep you warm during the winter, having your water heater covered and insulated can keep it protected.
You can go to stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, even Wal-mart and grab a water heater blanket for around $20. Following the instructions makes it a pretty simple way to winterize your heater.
Adjust your water heater temperature
Since you’re checking out your water heater, now would be a good time to adjust the temperature and save a bit more cash. No need to have the water heated to scalding temps, so adjust it to 120F. I’ve discovered that decreasing the temperature 10 degrees can save you between 3-5% with energy costs so add that to your to-do and start building up that stash.
Seal around the windows
You’ve protected your pipes and make sure to seal the cracks. You also want to protect another area where you could lose a significant amount of energy – your windows. You can seal up those air leaks around them with weather stripping or caulking. Not sure which weatherstripping is right for you? I found a fantastic chart that can help you sort through your options!
Replace weather-stripping around your doors
Another easy project that can have an impact on your electric bill. While your out getting what you need for the windows, you can also pick up on your next quick run, materials for your exterior doors.
You can use weather stripping or get a door sweep, both very inexpensive options. (I saw some seals for the bottom of your door for around $10.)
Add more insulation
If you have an attic and it’s been a while since you’ve checked it out. Go ahead and peek in one evening or during the weekend to make sure that you have enough insulation.
You don’t want your warm air escaping from there and thereby causing you to have a higher than needed heating bill.
Adjust your thermostat
With heating being a major portion of a family’s electric bill, taking a bit of time to optimize your home’s temperature is a smart money move. You want to find that goldilocks temperature where you’re comfortable without spending a ton of money.
The recommended suggested temperature I’ve seen for homes during the winter is 68 degrees. Try it and adjust as needed.
Get a programmable thermostat
This may sound complicated, but we recently replaced our thermostat fairly easily and we’re not handy people. Having a programmable thermostat can keep you comfortable while you’re home, but it can change to a more energy-efficient setting while you’re away. Why pay more for heating when you’re not there?
Prices have come down significantly so getting a new thermostat can pay for itself pretty quickly.
Making Your Home Ready for the Winter
I hope these tips not only help you save some serious money come winter, but also help you to stay comfortable when the cold weather kicks in.
Go ahead and set aside some time each evening to get your home ready for the winter. You can also make it a weekend project and knock it all out at once.
I’d love to hear from you – how do you keep your electric bill down during the winter?