01/05/18 : Kosoko Jackson

It’s a Polar Vortex, Bomb Cyclone, Martian Kind of Winter. Energy Efficiency is Here to Help.

For most of the United States, this is going to be a frigid winter. With temperatures on the East Coast registering, in some places, colder than Mars, and areas in the south getting snow for the first time in 28 years, this is shaping up to be a historic cold spell. Keeping your home warm and comfortable will be paramount. Of course, buying the most efficient appliances and devices – such as those with the ENERGY STAR label – is a sure-fire way to build in energy savings for the long run. But for everyone in a pinch right now, here are five easy, inexpensive tips for a warmer, more efficient home or apartment:

Heating Problems. There’s no way around it: staying warm is a priority during the winter. But did you know that heating typically makes up about 42% of your utility bill? By combining proper equipment maintenance, upgrading your insulation and changing your thermostat settings, you can save roughly 30% of your energy bill, while also reducing carbon emissions. Even if you can only do one of these things – like lowering your thermostat when you’re away or sleeping – you can see impressive monthly savings.  

Drafty Homes. Air leaks are sneaky and not always easy to detect, and they leave your house drafty, cold, and leaking precious (and expensive) heat. By properly sealing your window seals, you can save on heating. This is a perfect solution if you’re renting a house or apartment, or don’t want to take on a massive home improvement project. And if you have a fireplace, be sure to close the damper when you’re not using it. Small solutions can have big results!

Capture the Sun. Once you’ve weatherized your windows, open blinds and curtains on south-facing windows during the day to let in the sun’s warmth. Close curtains and other window treatments at night to provide another weather barrier.

Water Heaters. Water heating accounts for 14-18 percent of homeowners’ utility bills. An excellent way to save money, over the long term, is to get an energy-saving water heater. Can’t afford one? We understand that. Reducing your hot water temperature to 120F is an easy, quick, no cost solution, and prevents costly hospital bills from burning your hands, too. Win-win.

Ceiling Fans. Set your ceiling fans to run clockwise. Seems crazy, right? Turns out there can be a noticeable difference in temperatures between ceiling and floor.  Hot air, as you remember rises, and running your fan clockwise, pushes hot air down. This can warm your floor for little to no cost. Easy!