It’s the middle of winter and, depending on where you live, the coldest part of the year. You’ve turned the heat up, had the fire going and kept yourself relatively warm all season, but unfortunately, a lot of the energy used to heat your home ends up escaping, making your electricity bills a lot higher than they should be.
Keeping energy in your home doesn’t have to be difficult, and doing it in an eco-friendly way is possible. Here are five hacks you can use to stay warm this winter without hurting the environment or breaking the bank.
1) Install Window Covers
Did you know that nearly one-third of the energy produced to heat your home is lost through your windows? This is especially true for older homes, many of which have single pane or single glaze windows that don’t hold in heat well.
Window films and window treatments (think thick drapes) are great ways to reduce the heat lost through your windows. They trap the heat inside the room by adding an extra layer of protection around your windows.
2) Use Eco-Friendly Space Heaters
A space heater is a great way to keep costs down, and many modern space heaters have come a long way from their older counterparts. The introduction of thermostats and timers make eco-friendly space heaters much safer and more practical for heating small areas.
For example, if your bathroom is always colder than the rest of your home, get a space heater instead of turning the heat up and set it on a timer so you don’t forget to turn it off.
3) Seal Insulation Gaps
Just like your windows, doors and floors can be heat-suckers. Luckily, sealing the gaps in your insulation isn’t tricky at all. A laser thermometer is an eco-friendly way to identify the places where heat is escaping in your home. With just a point and a click, it tells you where you’re losing the most energy.
Try using the thermometer around doors and windows, as well as light switches and vents. If the temperature of the air is significantly cooler in those areas, you’ve identified your leak.
Then, break out the caulk, foam, or silicone and get busy. Do this check each year to locate areas where you need to reseal any gaps.
Pro tip: Check the temperature in your home in the evening and space out your thermometer readings over a few days to make sure you’re getting an accurate reading.
4) Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re not at home all day, chances are high that you’re spending too much money on your electric bill. A programmable thermostat allows you to enter two temperatures, a high temperature and a lower one. When the temperature of your house falls below the lowest temperature you’ve entered, the house will heat to the maximum temperature and then turn off again.
This is a great way to make sure your house never gets too cold, while still saving energy as it keeps your furnace from running continuously.
5) Close the Damper in Your Fireplace
Your fireplace can be a great source of heat, but it can also render your thermostat useless as it sucks the warmth out the top of the chimney. Luckily, there’s one simple reason why this might be happening—the damper.
Having the damper open is like having an open window in your house. You should always have your fireplace damper closed when you’re not making a fire, and a top-sealing damper is a great way to keep the heat where it belongs.
However, even brand new dampers may be costing you if they don’t fit correctly. Conduct a damper test each year to make sure your damper fits and to keep your home safe from fire damage.
With a well-fitted damper, you can light a fire that will heat your home. To be even more energy-efficient, turn down the thermostat, which prevents your central heating system from trying to replace the energy lost by the heat leaving through the chimney.
Keeping the Cold Out
By using these environmentally friendly tips, you can help to keep your home cozy while keeping costs down. You might be surprised at what a difference a small change can make.
If your energy problem is too big for a quick fix, consider replacing your windows and/or doors. Window and door replacements can be done all year round (even in the winter) by yourself or a professional, allowing you to get back on track with your energy usage goals.
Caroline Davis has been writing for five years. She specializes in home hacks, small business advice, and lifestyle how-to’s. She also manages Carpe Daily, an educational blog focusing on every area of life, from finance to health. Check out some of her latest work at CarpeDaily.com.