Mortgage Advice

5 Ways to Manage Home Energy Costs in the Winter

December 2, 2016

Winter is almost upon us – that special time of year where the snow starts falling, and our energy bills start rising. Like any utility, heating your home comes at a price. However, there are a few things you can do to heat your home for significantly less. To help ease the burden on your wallet this winter, here are five simple ways to better manage your home energy costs.

Check the Weatherstripping
When it comes to home energy savings, there’s one area that often slips through the cracks (literally). The gaps around your doors and windows create drafts and let in cold air. In fact, some believe that as much as 7-12% of your home’s heating loss occurs in these areas.

To address the gaps around your doors and windows, check to make sure the weatherstripping is not worn or torn. Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years, and it’s usually as easy as peeling off the old and tacking on the new. The U.S. Department of Energy has a great guide to all the different types of weatherstripping you can choose from, and the pros and cons each provides.

Inspect the Ducts
EnergyStar estimates that 20-30% of the air that moves through your heating system is lost due to holes, leaks and loosely connected ducts. Because they’re most likely concealed in the walls of your home, inspecting for vulnerabilities and repairing them can prove difficult.

If you choose not to work with a professional contractor, you can start performing the fixes yourself by using sealant or metal tape (ironically, it’s bad to use duct tape) to cover visible air leaks. The vent connections and registers on the floors, walls and ceiling are the easiest and most common spots to find leaks and poorly connected ducts.

Upgrade Your Thermostat
Technology has been revolutionizing many everyday home products for years, but one of the most notable is the thermostat. If you’re like the majority of people that keep the heat running 24/7, smart thermostats like Nest use sensors to learn your lifestyle – detecting when you’re not home or sleeping – and adjusts itself accordingly to save you the maximum amount of money.

With Nest, you also have the ability to control it remotely, meaning you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to turn down the heat before you leave. With all the efficiency improvements brought upon by a smart thermostat, the investment can help cut your energy bill by 12% or more.

Keep Heat Registers Unobstructed
When placing the furniture in your home, you may have accidentally covered up a heat register or two. This affects your energy bill because the hot air needs a clear path through the ducts and into your rooms to provide even heating. Obstructing your registers limits the flow and creates more work for your furnace.

Get A Chimney Balloon
If you have a fireplace, it’s most likely a culprit in letting your warm air escape, even when your flue is closed. The Department of Energy suggests that 14% of cold air infiltration enters through this avenue. Chimney Balloons are a simple solution to this problem. Available for purchase on sites like Amazon, installing these inflatable cushions is simple and safe. If you forget to remove it before starting a fire, it will automatically deflate to prevent your house from filling with smoke.

What are some other ways to manage home energy costs in the winter? Let us know in the comments below!