Like most homeowners, when cooler weather starts to roll around and the holiday season settles in, you and your family likely start spending more time indoors. And, with this year being particularly unique, the chances are you’re probably using a lot more energy than usual. Many people are working and going to school from home, at least part of the time, and that likely means they’re using more lighting and electronics. Couple that with increased energy use in the cooler months due to home heating, and you may be wondering if there are ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.
The heating system in your home can use a good portion of your energy budget. During a typical year, the Department of Energy estimates that home heating uses more energy and costs more money than using any other system in your home, and generally accounts for up to 42 percent of the average utility bill. This year, because people are likely to be home at times when they typically wouldn’t be, those prices could potentially be even higher. So, what are some ways the average family can save on energy during the winter months?
5 Ways You Can Save Energy This Winter
Fortunately, there are a few measures any homeowner can take if they are looking for ways to conserve energy during the winter months. We’ve compiled five ways you can save energy – and potentially on your utility bills – when the colder weather strikes. Learn more below:
- Turn off lights and unplug small appliances when not in use. This seems like it should be an easy one, but when family members are all milling around the house, it can be hard to remember to turn off lights to unplug toasters and other small kitchen appliances when not in use. You can consider using a timer on lights in your home, or just making it a habit to do so when you leave a room. Even though it seems like a small step, it adds up. And remember, even if you’re not using appliances, when you leave them plugged in they’re still sapping small amounts of energy almost continuously.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat – or better yet, a smart one. There are several thermostats on the market today that can be programmed for maximum efficiency. You can set your thermostat to different temperatures for different parts of your day, such as when you’re home, away, or sleeping. And, smart thermostats take it to the next level by “learning” your family’s habits. Not to mention, they can be controlled remotely from smartphones or computers, so if you forget to turn your thermostat down before leaving home, you can easily adjust it remotely.
- Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs and power strips. While this can be an upfront expense, you’ll save in the long run. LED bulbs use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last much, much longer – potentially up to 25 years, according to NYSERDA. Energy-saving power strips can also help you save because they can prevent that energy-sapping, even when appliances are not in use, that we mentioned above.
- Always look for the most efficient appliances.No doubt you’ve noticed that most appliances available on the market today are ENERGY STAR-rated. Appliances that have received ENERGY STAR’s seal of approval are made to be more efficient and use less energy. Virtually all appliances today have a version that is made to be as efficient as possible, from washers and dryers to dishwashers and even home heating equipment.
- Make sure you get annual maintenance on your heating equipment. Annual maintenance not only helps you stay more comfortable, but it can also help assure that your heating system is operating at its efficient best. That’s because annual maintenance services include cleaning your equipment, which allows it to run more smoothly. And, keep your system’s filter clean – that’s generally a part of your maintenance but may need to be done more often depending on how frequently your equipment runs.
At T.F. O’Brien, we want to help you save energy this winter.
We always work to help our customers find the most energy-efficient solutions, and we can help you too. Learn more about the maintenance plans that can help your equipment operate at its most efficient, and ask us about thermostats that can save on system energy use, too. And, if it’s time to replace your heating system, we can help you find one that is just right for your home – and can help you save on those winter utility bills.
Just give us a call at 516.488.1800, and we will be more than happy to help!