Energy bills can skyrocket over the cold winter months, but there are a few DIY ideas you could try to help keep them manageable.
1. Minimize Drafts
Heat can quickly escape through cracks around doors and windows. Seal large windows with cellophane by taping it to beyond the window frame. For doors it’s best to use weatherstripping on the top and bottom of the door, as well as a silicone sweep for the space between the bottom of the door and the threshold.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your home is empty for most of the day, there’s no need to keep it warm and cozy. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to drop once you’re out of the house, and rise again before you return. Dropping the temperature by a few degrees for 8 hours a day can lead to considerable savings. Just make sure to set the temperature up 30-45 minutes before you return, so you don’t come home to a cold house.
3. Clean your Fridge and Freezer
Since they are on 24/7, your fridge and freezer tend to consume more energy than all other household appliances combined. Clogged air vents can cause them to work extra hard to keep your food chilled, and eat up more energy than needed. Defrost and a clean on a regular basis, and keep the area around the vents clear at all times.
4. Block the Chimney
This escape route for warm air is often overlooked. Using a special chimney balloon to block the damper is a great way to minimize heat loss. Make sure you consult your fireplace specialist to ensure you get the right one for your needs, and install correctly. Just make sure to clear it when you light up a fire!
5. Perform Regular Furnace/Hot Water Tank/Boiler Maintenance
You can perform a basic cleaning on these units yourself by consulting the owner’s manual. If something doesn’t seem to be working right, don’t hesitate to call a professional for an annual inspection.