On top of staying warm throughout the winter months, a lot of people worry about saving money and energy. According to a poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, four out of 10 consumers are worried about money this holiday season.
The average family spends $2,024 a year on energy; nearly half of that goes towards heating and cooling costs. Stay warm and save energy with these helpful winter tips:
· Pick smarter lightbulbs. Decorate for the holidays efficiently with strands of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Using LED holiday lights for 12 hours a day cuts seasonal lighting costs by 90 percent when compared to traditional incandescent holiday lights.
· Check furnace filters. Be sure to clean or replace your heating and cooling system’s air filter. At a minimum change the filter every three months; a dirty filter clogs the system, making the system work harder to keep you warm.
· Install a programmable thermostat. Is your home alone most of the day? Programmable thermostats can knock up to10 percent off heating bills with the ability to automatically turn temperatures down 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours a day.
· Insulate water heaters and pipes. Wrap water pipes connected to the water heater with foam, and insulate the water heater, too. To save about $75 annually, consider lowering the water heater temperature from 130 degrees to 120.
· Bundle up your home. The more heat that escapes from cracks, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Use an incense stick to spot air leaks. When it’s windy outside, hold a lit incense stick near your windows, doors, and electrical outlets. If the smoke blows sideways, you’ve got a leak that should be plugged with weather-stripping, caulk, or expandable foam.
· Use a low-flow showerhead. About 14 percent of your energy bill funds water heating. Low-flow showerheads can minimize water use by up to 50 percent—a helpful change, especially when extended family members visit for the holidays.
Want more ways to save? Take the home energy savings tour and see how little changes add up to big savings at www.TogetherWeSave.com.
Sources: Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, ENERGY STAR, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Consumer Reports
Madeline Keimig writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives, the national branding program for 700-plus electric cooperatives in the U.S.