This blog comes to us from Natalie at HomeOwnerBliss! Thanks Natalie!
As the temperature outside drops, you may start fiddling with your thermostat and tossing a few logs into the fireplace. We all want to stay warm when winter rolls around – but no one likes paying high energy bills. Saving money while adequately heating your home can be a challenge, especially if you live in an area with long, dark winters and heavy snowfalls.
Besides bundling up in sweaters and thick socks, what can you do to keep your bills low and your home cozy? Here are some ideas to reduce your energy bills without turning down the heat.
Home Energy Audit
A thorough home energy audit can help you figure out if you’re wasting energy. According to SmartEnergy, the average American household uses about 10,399 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, but most of us could reduce our overall energy usage and save big on energy bills.
During a home energy audit, a professional inspector will show you exactly how much energy you’re using, what you’re using it for, and how you can lower your energy bills. The inspector will even discuss your family’s lifestyle habits and how you can adjust your routines to save money. For instance, are you leaving certain appliances plugged in when they aren’t in use? Are you leaving the lights on after exiting a room? All of these small changes can really add up.
Massachusetts homeowners can get a free energy audit from MassSave along with free LED bulbs, water saving devices and more.
Replace Your Furnace
Your furnace might be a culprit behind your high energy bills. If you’re relying on an old, inefficient furnace, you may want to think about replacing it with a newer model. On average, a new furnace installation will cost you anywhere from $2,543 to $6,121, depending on the model and type you require. Generally, gas is more expensive than electric, and geothermal is more expensive than either of those options.
The initial cost of replacement might seem high but eventually your reduced energy bills means that it will essentially pay for itself. And don’t forget, there are tax credits available for certain energy efficiency home improvements and some energy companies, including MassSave, offer low- or no-interest loans and may offer additional credits.
Install a Smart Thermostat
According to Family Handyman, a smart thermostat can help you see significant savings of 10 to 23% on your heating and cooling bills all year round. A smart thermostat is generally equipped with motion sensors so that it “knows” when people are home and awake – therefore, it can lower the temperature when everyone is out or sleeping.
With a smart thermostat, you can change the temperature through an app, giving you long-distance control when you’re not home. Plus, your smart thermostat will keep track of your energy usage over time and provide reports with money-saving tips included. Electricians will charge by the hour for installation, which could be anywhere from $50 to $100; Best Buy has a set price of $99.99 for installation.
Learn more about smart thermostats in this blog.
Drafty windows and doors can seriously drive up your energy bills. Thankfully, fixing them can be a relatively simple DIY project. For example, weatherstripping and caulking are fairly basic and inexpensive repairs. However, you should be aware that caulking usually needs to be redone periodically.
For a drafty door, you could try using a draft stopper or realigning the door. You might also want to take things a step further and install a storm door. If none of these repairs remedy your draft problems, you might want to replace your windows or doors.
Sometimes, a few tweaks around your house are all it takes to save on your energy bills. Consider these home improvements an investment. Yes, you may have to spend some money up front, but in the long run, these changes can definitely help you save. You’ll not only be more comfortable – and more green – you’ll feel that much warmer knowing you don’t have big bills coming later.
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