How to save energy (and coin) like a pro this winter

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The colder months are fast approaching – many of us already have our heat thermostats up and running! While the Farmer’s Almanac reports a slightly milder and less snowy season than usual, but braving a Minnesota winter still requires a bit of preparation.

What better time than now to winterize your house or apartment to not only save some coin, but also reduce your carbon footprint?  Read on for 10 quick tips to manage your home’s heat without breaking the bank.

Manage your temperature.

Lowering your thermostat not only saves energy, but reduces your heating bill. Every degree you turn down saves about two to three percent. If you’re still not sold on lowering while at home, try turning it down when you leave for the day or before you go to bed.

 

Don’t put your heat on blast

Just know, though, that your house isn’t built like a car — so blasting the highest amount of heat when you get home won’t warm your house up any faster. In fact, your house will warm up at the same rate whether you have it on 70 or 80. The only thing that will be rising faster is your bill.

 

Rotate your ceiling fan

If you’ve got a ceiling fan, you can actually use it help redistribute heat. Simply run the blades clockwise position and you’ll now be able to push warm air down to the floor.

 

Ditch your space heater

This one may sound like blasphemy, but central heating systems actually work better and more efficiently than space heaters. In fact, space heaters only convert about 30 percent of the energy into electricity. So, unless you’re at the office in a cubicle icebox, we suggest turning this one off. But, if you simply must have a space heater, use it in a smaller area and make sure to turn it toward people and not open space.

 

Get a humidifier

A humidifier will add moisture to the air, which can help retain heat. That means those of us who like warmer temps can actually turn it down a few degrees and still be comfy and cozy.

 

Let the light in

Our days are getting shorter, so get the most out of them by leaving your drapes and blinds open. This will allow the sun’s natural energy to help warm your home (and give you some much needed vitamin D) — just make sure to close them once the sun goes down to avoid heat leaks.

 

Check for window leaks

Now is the perfect time to check and seal drafty windows. This can include resealing caulk along the window edges or getting a double-sided draft guard at your local hardware store (or on Amazon).

 

Check your air filters

Replace (or ask your landlord to) your filters every three months to not only give you fresher air, but also minimize your energy use. Not able to replace — try vacuuming them out, along with vent coves.

 

Unplug appliances and electronics

Did you know that appliances and electronics use energy when you’re not using them? So unplug those unused toasters and lamps to add some more coins to your pockets.  This may sound like a bit much, but the Department of Energy estimates that unused appliances account for an average of five to eight percent of your annual usage.

 

Don’t block vents

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure that couches or other furniture aren’t blocking vents that let the warm air in. If they are, this might be a good time to start redecorating.

 

Maintain your fireplace

If you’ve got this heating goldmine, make sure to maintain it! That includes checking the seals and caulking and keeping it clear of debris. Keep the damper closed when no fires are burning — otherwise warm is air going right up the chimney. And, if you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue altogether.