When asked if they’d like to save money on monthly energy bills – almost everyone would say “sign me up!” But when looking for tips, it can feel as though every option begins with expensive changes like “reinsulate your home” or “change to Energy Star® appliances.” Although those tips will definitely help lower your energy bill in the long run, not everyone can afford that type of change today.
That’s why we’re sharing the best tips to lower your energy bill – without the upfront costs. Some tips are simple behavior changes and others will take a little more effort – but they all add up to more money in your pocket at the end of each billing cycle. On this first edition of #SundaySavers, we’re going to focus on saving while using your heating system.
Estimates say about half of the energy used in your home can be attributed to heating and cooling. So making better decisions about your home’s heating can have a huge impact on your energy bill and your family’s comfort. One of the best ways to keep your home more energy efficient is to change your furnace filter regularly, especially during the heating season. A dirty filter doesn’t allow airflow, and with less airflow, your system has to work harder to heat your home.
Take a quick look in and around your appliances. Make sure no vents are clogged and clear dust away by vacuuming. Dust can clog your heating and cooling system – as well as your dryer – causing them to use more energy to do the same work. Blocked vents can also be a fire hazard. This simple maintenance can also lead to long-term savings by your appliances functioning properly for a longer period of time – and can keep your family safe.
Change the way your ceiling fan is rotating. During the winter, your ceiling fan should run so the hot air on the ceiling is being pushed down to the floor, or clockwise. That will then spread heat to the floor and allow your furnace to run less to heat your home.
Speaking of the furnace, lower your thermostat to 58 degrees if you’re away from home five hours or more. It costs less to heat up your home after you’ve returned than to spend money heating an empty space all day.
Finally, use the Energy Star® Home Energy Yardstick and the Consumers Energy Cold Weather Portal. The Home Energy Yardstick allows you to find out what energy use you should expect from a home your size, in your zip code, with the number of people in your home. Our Cold Weather Portal gives you savings tips and safety suggestions to help you through the winter.