Slash Your Heating Bills This Winter – Without Sacrificing Comfort!

Slash Your Heating Bills This Winter – Without Sacrificing Comfort!

It seems that most of the country has been blanketed with a cold snap lately. Once you’re done building snowmen and making snow angels, there is only so much a cup of hot cocoa can do to warm you up. But, no one wants their heating bills to skyrocket this winter just because it’s colder than usual.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to actually lower your heating bills, and still remain warm and toasty all season long. Saving money and staying comfortable? It’s a win-win! Use the tips listed in this article to keep warm this winter without breaking the bank.

Repair Your Weather Stripping

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Weather stripping is something many of us have installed once, and don’t often think about it again. But, the name doesn’t lie: Weather stripping is designed to keep your home warm during colder months by blocking out drafts. Even the smallest tear or crack can let enough cold air get into your house to make a difference.

Weather stripping should be replaced every few years. A good rule of thumb is to look it over once a year and see what kind of shape it’s in. You’ll have a pretty good idea about when it’s time to take it down and reinstall new stripping. The good news? It’s incredibly easy to put new weather stripping in, and you’ll notice a difference right away.

Don’t Let Warm Air Escape

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Nothing sounds better than a cozy fire in the middle of winter. But, when your fireplace isn’t being used, warm air from inside your house can escape from the chimney. This can cause your furnace to have to kick on more often, and that means money is literally being sent up the chimney!

A great solution for this is to make a small investment in a chimney balloon. You can get them at almost any hardware store or online. You simply blow up the balloon and put it up the chimney. It will block out any warm air from escaping, and can save you up to $100 each year in utility costs.

Insulate Your Attic Door

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Many people make the mistake of getting their attic properly insulated, but ignoring the attic door. Remember, heat rises. When you have the heat blowing throughout your house, it could seep into the attic door, and your home is losing that heat in the process. Again, this will cause your furnace to have to work overtime.

If you already have your attic insulated, take the time to make sure the door is properly insulated in the same way. If you don’t have your attic insulated at all, it’s a strong investment you should make. It can save you hundreds of dollars, and you’ll likely notice right away how much easier it is for your house to warm up quickly.

By using these three simple tips alone, you could end up saving thousands of dollars through the years. They are small investments to make for long-term winter savings. You’ll feel warmer and more comfortable, and when the cold weather has passed by for another year, you’ll have more money in your wallet to show for it!

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Start Today to Save Energy

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Start Today to Save Energy

The new year is finally upon us, and that means resolutions are on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Making resolutions to lose weight, eat healthy, or be more productive this year are solid old standbys. But, you can also resolve to set goals this year to really have an impact on your energy use. Not only will these resolutions save money, but they’ll help to reduce your energy impact – it’s a win-win solution, and a resolution you can really stick with with.

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1. Turn Your Lights Off
One of the easiest things to do to save a little bit of energy is to turn off your lights when you’re not in a room. It might be hard to remember at first, especially if you’re in the habit of leaving them on. But, if you can dedicate yourself to flipping the ‘off’ switch whenever a room isn’t in use, you could be making a small change that has a big impact.

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2. Use a Power Strip
Most people know that things like appliances and electronics still use energy when they’re plugged in, even if they aren’t on. The reason they don’t unplug them all the time? Well, it can get a little annoying. Instead of having to unplug all your appliances when you’re not using them, invest in power strips. You can plug multiple things into one strip, and turn the switch on that strip on/off as needed.

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3. Wash Smarter
Was the last load of laundry you put in just a few necessary items? Maybe you just needed a clean shirt for work the next day, or wanted to get the mud off your jeans. Instead of picking only a handful of things for your next load, fill it up! The less loads of laundry you do, the more water and energy you’ll conserve.
Remember, there’s a fine line between filling it up enough, and over-filling it, so pay attention to what your machine can handle.

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4. Make the Switch to LED
Energy-efficient lightbulbs can be bought at just about any big box store or hardware store. They might be a bit of an investment up front, but they can save you a ton of money in the long run. Plus, they will last for years! Now is the time to make the switch throughout your house, and make this year a bit brighter.

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5. No Singing in the Shower
Okay, we don’t mind if you sing in the shower – but make it a short song! The tip here is to take shorter showers this year. It can be tempting to relax underneath the warm water for twenty minutes. But, the more your water heater has to work to heat your shower, the more energy you’re using. Resolve to take shorter showers this year. Even cutting them down by just a few minutes can make a difference.
Saving energy starts with small goals and resolutions. If you’ve already made your list of resolutions for the year, it’s not too late to add onto it, and continue these habits for many years to come!

The Importance of Weatherization

The Importance of Weatherization

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the United States government gives over $1 billion a year to low-income families who struggle with energy efficiency in their homes. This money goes toward things like helping with utility bills and making homes more energy friendly. But, it also goes toward something that might surprise you; the health of those families.

Believe it or not, an energy efficient home is better for your health. Having a home that doesn’t have energy conservation methods in place will not only hurt your utility bills, but it can also affect your family’s overall health and well-being. Weatherizing your home is the easiest way to lower your bills and keep your family healthier.

How Can Weatherization Help My Health?

One of the biggest problems people face when they don’t weatherize their homes is asthma. Asthma is actually the leading cause of children missing school due to illness in the United States. While there are multiple factors that affect this condition, homes that aren’t weatherized are something to consider.

What can you do to weatherize your home and reduce your children’s chances of developing asthma? You might be surprised at how simple it is. Use the following tips to get started:

  • Seal your windows. This can be done in a variety of different ways, and there are even DIY methods of doing it. You can also purchase specific sealant products, especially during the colder winter months. You’ll likely be very pleased with how quickly simply sealing your windows can bring down your heating bills, too!
  • Invest in quality insulation. Nowadays, there are so many more options than traditional batting insulation. Blown-in insulation is a great solution that can get into every nook and cranny of your home.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date heating and cooling systems. These can be expensive investments up front, but they will stand the test of time, lower your utility bills, and help to lower asthma triggers.

In addition to conditions like asthma, one of the common health issues people face when their home isn’t properly weatherized is stress. Stress can lead to a variety of different health issues, and can actually be quite dangerous when it isn’t managed. The stress comes from high utility bills, a low sense of security, and fear over keeping your family healthy. You may also not be sleeping as well as you could in a home that isn’t properly weatherized. All of these factors can contribute to your overall wellbeing.

Getting Help with Weatherization

Because weatherization is so important, you can actually get assistance from the government if you’re not able to properly weatherize your house yourself. Different states have different requirements when it comes to how much they can help, but it’s something to look into if you’re worried that your home may be affecting your health (and your high bills, of course!).

Will a weatherized home help with every health problem? No. But, it’s a great start to making sure your family stays healthy, safe, dry, and warm when it counts the most. You’re essentially taking care of two problems at once: Your family will feel better, and your bills will get lower. Weatherizing your home, whether you need assistance or not, can make a huge difference!

3 Ways to Save Energy at School

3 Ways to Save Energy at School

Conserving energy at home is a great start. It’s a perfect way to show your kids how important conservation is, and can develop responsible habits for a lifetime. But, home is only half of it! Kids spend a good portion of their days in school, and if steps aren’t being taken in our educational facilities to conserve energy, we’re going to be fighting a losing battle.

Whether you work in a school or you’re a parent on a mission, it’s never a bad idea to suggest these energy-saving solutions. Kids will love being a part of it, and you can get the entire community involved. Turning your school into a more ‘green’ school can make a big difference, so let’s look at some helpful tips you can use immediately.

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  1. Put Down the Devices

Many schools allow personal tablet and laptop use during the day. During breaks, students are quick to pull out their smart phones. While these devices don’t necessarily use up a lot of energy when they aren’t plugged in, using them frequently will also require frequent charging. That adds up pretty quickly when you consider how many kids are using these devices on a daily basis.

Encourage your child’s school to turn off devices and remove from chargers when not in use and fully charged to save on energy. 

  1. Turn Off the Lights

Sometimes, every light in a school building will be turned on in the morning, and won’t get turned off until a custodian is done cleaning for the night. Some of these rooms hardly get used throughout the day. You wouldn’t leave on every light at home during the day, so why should a school building be any different? If you’re an employee of the school, always be sure to turn your room’s light off when it’s not in use, and do the same for any room you see not being used.

  1. Close the Door

Older schools can have a difficult time with temperature, depending on the season. During the winter or early summer months, it can be hard to concentrate on much of anything except finding a comfortable temperature for staff and students.

But, instead of requiring the schools HVAC system to go into overdrive, keep doors closed whenever possible. When you close a door to a classroom, you have better control of the climate within that room. Opening the door eliminates that control and lets air or heat escape, essentially wasting it and causing the system to work harder.

It’s easy to forget about the energy that’s wasted in our school systems across the country, but if we’re able to cut down on that waste, it can make a big difference. If you work in a school, you can implement these tips yourself. If you’re a concerned parent, bring up these suggestions at a school board meeting, or with your children’s teachers. Every little bit can help, and it will show your children once again just how important it is to save energy no matter where they are.

Saving Energy on a Budget

Saving Energy on a Budget

Most people want to do their part to reduce their environmental impact and save energy. Whether you want to cut your own utility costs, or do your part to green up the earth a little bit, there is no wrong reason to practice any kind of energy conservation. You CAN save energy on a budget!

Unfortunately, the idea of saving energy in your home and in your day-to-day life has gotten a bit of a reputation for being expensive. It might sound silly, but sometimes saving on energy can end up costing more than we expect. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to.

If you’re on a tight budget, but still want to conserve energy, there are plenty of things you can do. This article will cover a few ways you can lower your energy use, and keep your wallet happy, too.

Reduce What You Use

One of the easiest ways to save energy without spending a dime is to reduce how much of it you use. You don’t have to install expensive solar panels to make a difference. Follow some of these simple daily strategies to lower your energy use instantly:

  • Turn off the light whenever you leave a room. Once you start making this a habit, it’s an easy fix.
  • Use an outdoor clothesline to dry your clothes when possible. It’s free, and you won’t have to turn on the dryer.
  • Turn off appliances that aren’t often used. Things like DVD players, toasters, microwaves, etc., still use energy even if they aren’t actively being used. Unplug them and plug them back in whenever you’re ready to use them again.
  • Use natural heating and cooling whenever possible. To keep your home cool in the summer, close the blinds and keep the sun out. In winter, open them up and let in the sun’s warm rays to heat your home.

Replace Money Suckers

Making a few small investments within your home can actually end up saving you money in the long run. If you have old items in your home using energy, they could be sucking up more of it than you realize. Replace things like:

  • Old lightbulbs. Switch to energy-efficient LED lights. They might be more expensive initially, but they last much longer and will lower your energy bills.
  • Replace your air filters regularly, to make them as efficient as possible.
  • If you’re in the market for new appliances, make sure they are energy-efficient. Most large appliances use less energy as their standard now, but it’s important to double-check, especially on appliances you plan on keeping for years.

Save Money and Energy

As you can see, saving energy doesn’t require you to purchase any special equipment or make any large investments that wouldn’t otherwise fit into your lifestyle. You can make a low-energy lifestyle work for you, no matter what your budget may be.

The best part? You can start using many of these tips today. The things you need to replace around your home can be done as needed, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money at once. Plus, once you start seeing the savings on your utility bill, you’ll be eager to make even more simple, budget-friendly changes.

4 Easy Ways to Save On Energy Costs This Winter

4 Easy Ways to Save On Energy Costs This Winter

As colder temperatures start to take over the season, thermostats tend to climb all over the country. While staying cozy and warm feels nice at the time, getting your utility bills through the winter might just send a chill down your spine all over again.

Thankfully, you don’t have to cringe every time a payment needs to be made. Instead, you can be proactive about how to save on energy costs this winter. There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to conserve energy, and keep a little extra holiday money in your wallet at the same time. Let’s look at a few of these easy suggestions you can start putting into place right away.

Steal from the Sun

Winter is often associated with gray skies and gloomy days, but not every day is like that. There’s plenty of sunshine, even on cold winter days. So, take advantage of free heat from the sun whenever you can get it. Open the curtains on the south-facing side of your home on sunny days. This will allow the warm rays to shine in and add heat to your house. At night, be sure to close those curtains to keep the heat locked in as much as possible.

Turn on the Fans

You may not think ceiling fans would be helpful in the winter, but it’s all about how they rotate! Turn your fans to spin clockwise – that will help to trap heat in each room. When you put the fan on a low setting, that heat will get pushed back down and dispersed throughout the rooms. You won’t feel much of a breeze. Instead, you’ll actually be able to warm up a room by manipulating the airflow.

Heat the Right Rooms

Most of us flip on the furnace in the winter and let the heat disperse throughout the house. Unfortunately, that means it’s also going into rooms that don’t often get a lot of use. Don’t let that heat go to waste! If there are rooms in your house that don’t get used, close off the vents. This will help to increase the airflow into the rooms that do need it most.

A space heater is a great option for those rooms that don’t see a lot of use. You can turn it on whenever you’re in those rooms, and it’ll end up costing you a lot less than constantly pumping heat throughout your whole house.

Bundle Up

One of the easiest ways to save on energy costs is to make yourself warmer in other ways. You can turn your thermostat down a few degrees if you’re willing to wear warm clothes around the house. Dress warmly in sweaters and thick socks, and keep blankets easily accessible in most rooms. You won’t notice much of a difference in the temperature of the house, but you could be saving a lot of money with just a few degrees.

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As you can see, saving money on energy costs over the winter doesn’t have to be difficult. These tips can be put into place right away. The more you use them the happier you’ll likely be the next time your utility bill shows up.