Winter’s cold, gloomy days and long nights can put a real strain on household energy budgets. But there are also lots of straightforward ways to keep those costs under control. Here are some ideas, with thanks to the Energize Connecticut program, the US Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, MONEY magazine, TIME magazine, US News & World Report, and the TODAY Show.
ü Tap the sun’s free heat. Even winter’s depths will offer up some sunny days. When that happens, be sure to open wide any curtains or blinds on your south-facing windows to bring free heat (and light) into your home. Close window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.
ü Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the US Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours.
ü Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms you rarely use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to direct airflow to the rooms you use most.
ü Reduce heat loss from the fireplace. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning -- keeping it open sends warm air right up the chimney. And when you have a fire, reduce heat loss by opening the nearest window slightly—about 1 inch—and closing doors leading into the room.
ü Tap the heat that’s already there. Lots of daily household activities generate warmth, such as cooking or showering. When you shower, keep the bathroom door open so steam spreads to other rooms. Don’t turn a ventilation fan on; it will rapidly remove the warm air you’re hoping to retain.
ü Use ceiling fans to keep warm air close. Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise on a low setting to gently push warm air downward and keep rooms warner in cooler months.
ü Bundle up. It seems like a no-brainer, but this is truly one of the best and easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning up the heat, pull on a sweater, keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug for additional floor insulation.
ü Get a household energy “audit.” You can get help with better managing your home’s year-round energy use by scheduling an energy audit through the Energize Connecticut program. Utility-approved technicians will evaluate your home’s energy performance and install basic weatherization as well as energy-saving measures such as sealing air leaks and installing energy-efficient lighting. The average Connecticut home receives about $1,000 in services and realizes $200-$250 in savings on their annual energy bills. For more information, visit https://www.energizect.com/your-home/solutions-list/home-energy-solutions-core-services