Monday, October 15, 2012

Time To Think About Cold Weather...And Heating Bills

The seasons are changing…again. The days are getting shorter and the nights colder. That means our furnaces and space heaters will be getting more of a workout. It also means that we can expect to see an increase in our utility bills as a result.
This is the time to begin thinking about saving money on those utility bills. Even if money is an issue when considering ways to cut down on your energy bills, there are upgrades which you can do yourself for less than $50 dollars each.
One of the best ways to stop cold drafts from sucking the heat out of your home is the buy a door sweep (I love these things). These handy little items attach to the bottom of your door to keep the cold air out, and the heat in. Door sweeps come in different variations, including those that attach with screws and those with self-stick adhesive backs. If buying one of these is financially problematic for you, consider attaching a thin piece of rubber to the door base; it has the same effect.
To stop air from seeping of your fireplace and out of your home, use a chimney plug. These simple, air-filled items usually average around $50 dollars in cost, and only take a few minutes to inflate and install.
Lighting is another area to cut energy costs. Newer, more energy efficient “green” light bulbs can now outlast the more traditional iridescent bulbs by a factor of 10, and can cut your lighting cost by upwards of 75%. Florescent bulbs, although not as environmentally friendly also have the same effect…more lighting for half the costs. Other efficient options include CFLs, LEDs and halogen bulbs.
An old trick my father used to do was to wrap a blanket around the hot water heater. This old trick helps make your hot water heater run more efficiently. You can actually purchase a “hot water ‘blanket’” from a hardware store for around $20 dollars. It’s almost idiot-proof to install, and helps to keep the water inside the tank warm, which means the water heater won’t have to work as hard.
These small investments will yield big returns when it comes to your utility bills. Taking a few minutes to think about and prepare for the colder weather now will save you a headache of a bill (or bills) later.


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