Winter is here! Hopefully most of you have done everything you can to winterizing your home
.I was supposed to post this article two months ago but my site went down, so I figure I still want to give you some tips anyway. It is statistically accurate to claim that the winter and the summer months are the ones where our electric bills are the highest. As you may already know the biggest portion of our bill comes from heating our home.
If you have a fireplace, use it. Do not let it just sit there to use as a decoration. You have to clean it every fall and make sure that the dumper and the doors are tightly sealed because if cold air gets in it, it makes more work for your heater to warm your home and that costs more money$$$. Also if you decide to use the fireplace, you can turn down the heater in your home. This will save you at least 8% on your oil or electric bill.
The next important step to prepare for winter is to clean or replace the filter to your heater. Personally I have an oil furnace so I would just replace it. If your furnace is full of dirt or sludge it either wont work or work too hard which will end up costing you more money buy burning unnecessary oil or raise your electric bill. A clean filter saves you at least 5% on heating costs.
If you have ducts and most of you probably do, you want to make sure they are sealed and secured. Even the smallest leaks can raise heating costs by 30%. So just insulate the ducts by wrapping them with R-6 or higher fiberglass. You can also use UL approved metallic tape and mastic sealants. Solar heat has been used as a source of energy for a very long time. I'm not suggesting you to go out and purchase solar panels. All you need to do is open up all curtain your blinds, curtains, and drapes on the sunny days to assist in warming your home. This alone can reduce electric consumption by 10%.
All around your home there are openings on your doors, windows, joints, and sills that let warm air out and all that cold winter air in. Make sure all these openings are sealed with sealant or weatherstripping. A thermostat is nice but a programmable thermostat is even nicer. You can set the temperature of specific rooms for specific times of the day. Then eventually it remembers your routine. This comes in handy for when you leave your home for a good period of time and when you are sleeping.
The average household spends around $1600 per year on electric, so beside all the information that I just gave you to help winterize your home I also recommend following a few simple tips.
1- Turn off unnecessary devices, for example, TV, radio, lights in the day.
2-Keep sockets free, for example, unplug all your chargers, even if they are not in use they still use electricity
3-Keep home at lower temperatures when you aren't there
4-Use fluorescent lighting
5-Stop using hot water for every load of wash
6-Purchase energy efficient appliances.
Keep in mind that Americans consume 355.7 Billion Kw h each year and kitchen appliances account for 27% of that. So another useful tip is to keep your refrigerator doors closed and sealed, and to unplug appliances when not in use.
For those of you who are more open minded and are willing to make a few sacrifices then look into the energy alternatives. Windmills can run a small generator that produces and stores electricity in appliances. Solar energy or should I say solar panels on the roof can warm the home and you would have to never rely on electricity again. Solar cells could power small appliances and also heat water. These are just a few alternatives and they may seem impractical but you have no idea how much money would be saved in the long term. Most importantly, the alternative sources of energy do not harm the environment.
BY MICHELE LUPI