An easy and rewarding way to cut heating costs is to weatherize your home. There are some very simple ways to weatherize that can mean big savings and will reduce your carbon footprint by decreasing demand for non-renewable resources like heating oil or electricity generated from coal.
An easy place to begin weatherizing is by installing curtains. Heat can easily escape through glass windows, especially if the building is older and hasn’t had its windows replaced in a while. Open curtains during the day to let the sunlight in and warm up the space and close the shades at night to prevent the heat from escaping. Heavier drapes increase the efficiency of this practice. If you don’t like the look of heavy drapes, or if you wan’t to make your old windows as energy efficient as possible without replacing them, installing removable plastic film is a cheap alternative. Aesthetically, it is better to upgrade the entire window, but plastic film provides an option that improves window efficiency at 15 percent of the cost of an entire replacement.
Another way to improve home heating efficiency is to caulk any air gaps throughout the home. Not sure where your home’s air gaps are? Schedule a free energy audit with Boston-based company Next Step Living. Next Step Living uses infrared technology to determine where heat is escaping from a building. This company can then help develop a personalized plan for improving energy efficiency – which could mean savings on energy utility bills. From an audit, homeowners can easily find out if they need to do some caulking, replace windows or install better insulation.
Re-assessing your daily routine is another way to find ways to reduce energy use and cut costs. Do you take long, super hot showers in the winter? Heating water can be very costly, so trying out a shower timer might be a good place to start. Since you don’t sweat as much in the winter, consider reducing the number of showers you take and trying out a dry shampoo. Are you comfortable wearing a t-shirt and shorts around the house in the middle of January? Consider turning the thermostat down by five degrees and switching to flannel and sweatshirts. If you live in a large home, it may also be effective to seal off unused rooms in the winter so you’re not paying to heat extra space.
Since the winter months are darker, part of your increased energy costs may be due to lighting. Switch to LED bulbs and turn off unnecessary lighting fixtures. Watch TV or eat dinner by the light of candles rather than electricity. Not only will this save energy, but it gives your home a cozy and warm atmosphere.You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.