Winter is coming and keeping out the cold is a top priority. This is the time of year where bills run high not only with holiday shopping but with heating costs. NeighborWorks of Western Vermont is here to help keep your home cozy, safe, warm, and efficient. These simple and cost effective tips can help you to save money AND keep your home running more efficiently.
- Change your furnace filters- You should change the filters of your furnace at least once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters will restrict the air flow and increase the energy demand. Create a monthly calendar reminder to help you remember to change the filters. Make sure you read your furnace owner’s manual to learn how to properly change your filters.
- Run Fans in Reverse- Usually when you think of fans you think of cooling down on a hot summer’s day, but did you know you can put your fan in reverse? In the summer your fans should be turning counterclockwise to create a wind effect that makes you feel cooler. In the cooler months, reverse the fan to clockwise so that the updraft forces the warm air near the ceiling back down to keep you warm. This can cut down your heating bill by about 10%.
- Winterize your a/c and water lines- To do this, drain any hoses or a/c pipes, and make sure you don’t have any extra water pooled in the equipment. If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, you should turn that off too. Your hoses should be drained and stored neatly. Make sure to turn off any water spigots, and seal any water leaks around your home. Be sure to put away your a/c so you’re not getting any cold drafts during the winter.
- Turn down your water heater- Many conventional heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by the installers, but most households don’t need that much steam. If you lower your heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, this could decrease your water bill by 6-10%.
- Mind your thermostat- Remember to turn down your thermostat when you leave your house! This will save you money. You will save around 1-3% of money from your heating bill just by turning it down a few degrees when you are gone for the day. Even better, purchase a timer for your thermostat so that it automatically sets the temperature for you.
- Put on a sweater or sweatshirt- Dress warmer for the winter, whether you’re inside or outside. A light long-sleeve sweater can easily add around two degrees of warmth and a heavier sweater can add four degrees of warmth.
- Clean the gutters- Cleaning the gutters prevents ice buildup and icicles. If your gutters are clean the melting ice will flow away from your home. Since ice comes and goes throughout the winter, having clean gutters can help lessen or prevent roof or ceiling damage.
If you want to save money and keep your home cozy this winter, we recommend you follow some of these easy tips. Want to really make a difference in your home? Have our HEAT Squad come do an energy audit where they can show you the best way to weatherize your home. To learn more about what NeighborWorks of Western Vermont has to offer, check out www.nwwvt.org.
Author: Bailey Aines, part-time employee