Now that the New Year is here, it is the perfect time to commit to taking steps to conserve energy in the home. If you are not sure where to start, here are 10 New Year’s resolutions for saving energy this winter in Colorado.
1. Use heat from the sun
Even though the air is cold in the winter, the sun still radiates heat. You can use that heat to your advantage. Open the curtains on all south-facing windows in your house during the day. The sunlight will naturally heat the house. Close the curtains at night to block the cold air from coming in. Using your windows in this manner will make you less dependent on your thermostat to control the temperature in the house, thus saving both energy and money.
2. Cover drafty windows
Drafts coming from windows can make a house uncomfortably cold. They can also cause the heating system in a house to work excessively hard. Covering the windows that are drafty can improve the overall temperature in the house and also keep the heater from running continually. The best way to cover windows is by placing a heavy-duty clear plastic sheet or plastic film inside the window frame. The plastic should be sealed tightly to prevent infiltration of the cold air. You can also install tight-fitting insulated drapes or shades on windows that are subject to drafts.
3. Adjust the temperature in the house
Running the heater at a high temperature uses a great deal of energy. Many homeowners unknowingly run their heaters at too high a temperature for too many hours during the day, resulting in wasted energy and money. When you are at home and awake, keep the thermostat set as low as tolerable. When you are not home or asleep, turn the temperature back 10-15º to save both energy and money. It is helpful to buy a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature at the specified intervals.
4. Find and seal leaks
Leaks in a house can be the cause of lots of wasted energy. If a homeowner is not vigilant and does not recognize and rectify leaks in the house, it causes the heating system to work extra hard and inefficiently. Homeowners need to find any leaks and seal them as soon as possible. One easy way to find leaks is to have a home energy audit conducted. A home energy audit can help to identify problem areas in the house and act as a yardstick for homeowners to assess the energy efficiency of the home.
5. Keep the heating system well-maintained
The heating system for a home can become inefficient quickly and without warning. Contact a local heating service to have your heating system checked and to find out if any maintenance is required. There are a few tasks you can complete on your own such as replacing the furnace filter and cleaning the flue of a wood-burning heater.
6. Reduce heat loss from the fireplace
It is easy to forget to close the damper when there is not a fire burning. However, an open damper is tantamount to an open window in the dead of winter. When the damper is open, warm air easily travels directly up the chimney to the outside. When you are burning a fire, be sure the dampers are open and also open a nearby window about an inch. Also, lower the thermostat to about 55º. If you never use the fireplace, seal the flue, so no warm air escapes through it. Finally, be sure to caulk around the fireplace hearth to avoid drafts.
7. Lower the hot water heater temperature
Heating the water for the home takes a considerable percentage of the home’s energy usage. Simply turning the temperature down to the “warm” setting (120º) saves energy and helps to prevent everyone in the home from being scalded with extra-hot water.
8. Use cold water for laundry
Most families generate a lot of laundry in an average week. Therefore, a lot of the overall water usage for a household comes from washing clothes. Using cold water for every load of laundry will help to conserve hot water and save energy. Plus, it will increase the lifespan of your clothing as well.
9. Operate your dishwasher wisely
Energy can be saved with the dishwasher as well. Only run the dishwasher when there is a full load of dishes that need to be washed. Also, turn off the drying function on the dishwasher and allow the dishes to air dry.
10. Operate your refrigerator wisely
The other appliance that can quietly use a lot of energy is the refrigerator. Refrigerators continually use energy all day long. It is impossible to turn the refrigerator off since it is constantly in use. However, setting the temperature between 37º-40º and the freezer to 0º will assure the appliance is running at its optimal level without using any unnecessary energy.
It is always important to save energy in the home. However, in the winter, it is more important since extra energy is being used due to the cold weather. Taking these steps will help to ensure that you conserve energy and save money all winter long. If you have questions about saving energy this winter, contact a local energy audit professional to learn more.
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