Fall and winter are tough in terms of household costs. Heating your home as the Northeast gets colder can get expensive and if you live in an older home without good insulation, this can become a big problem. Holiday decor, cooking meals in the oven, and other popular seasonal activities can also put a strain on your wallet.
Fortunately, we’ve got some helpful hacks in store. Keep reading to get tips on saving energy and keeping your home heating comfortable and efficient throughout the season.
Locate & Seal Drafts
Tiny cracks or openings in your doors and window frames can cause a lot of heat loss during the winter. You might not even notice it until you get your heating bill in the mail. Sealing up any area causing a draft before fall and winter arrive helps you keep every bit of heat you pay for in your home where it belongs.
Hack: Turn off your heater, fans, and other appliances that can potentially move air around. Light a stick of incense or a candle and walk around areas of your home looking for spots that move the flame or smoke.
USA Today reports that if you put up holiday lights during the winter season, the type you use could cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Average-size decor that uses incandescent bulbs will cost an extra $33 per month, while elaborate incandescent lighting could be as much as $350 more per month. By comparison, elaborate decor that uses LED lighting would only cost an additional $47 per month. And, average-size LED lit decor would only run you an additional $5 to $7 per month.
Hack: Put your lighted holiday decorations on a timer that turns them off during the day and when you’re away from home, so you can save energy without having to plug and unplug your lights all the time.
Cooking on the stovetop or baking something in the oven uses a lot of energy, which also drives up the cost of your energy bill. Foods like casseroles, turkey, and pies that are popular during the fall and winter seasons are more expensive to make than foods that are more common in the summer, like cold salads, cut fruits, and grilled meats and vegetables. Keep this in mind as you plan meals and consider catering if you plan on hosting a large crowd.
Hack: Don’t open your oven while cooking. This lets heat out and makes your stove work harder to bring it back to the temperature you set. You should also use cookware that matches the size of the burners you’re cooking on. Otherwise, you’re either wasting energy using a bigger burner for a smaller pan or trying to use a small burner to heat up a large pan.
If you have a very old or drafty home, you may want to put a layer of plastic between your drapes and the window. There are kits you can purchase at the store or online that come with everything you need except for a hairdryer. To install, you’ll tape the plastic around your window frame with the included materials and then use a hairdryer to heat and tighten the plastic. This creates a layer of “dead air” that keeps cold air outside and warm air inside.
Hack: If you have pets, opt for a few yards of clear vinyl from your local craft store and staple or nail them to your window frames. This plastic is thicker and more durable and will better resist tears and scratches.
No matter how you get heat into your home, your system probably needs a good cleaning and maybe even some routine maintenance to get it ready for the winter. But there’s only so much you can DIY when it comes to your heating equipment. A qualified Boston heating and cooling expert can make sure your heating unit is combusting fuel properly and transferring enough heat throughout your home. They can also make sure there’s adequate ventilation if you’re using wood or gas heat.
Hack: Call your HVAC technician early in the season before they get booked out with service calls as temperatures outside plummet. That way, your technician can take their time making sure your system is ready to perform all season long.
Want to slash your energy costs even more? Contact N.E.T.R., Inc. today to learn more about saving energy year-round with ductless heating and cooling at (781) 933-6387.