After the coldest Thanksgiving in more than a century, this Georgia winter is shaping up to be one of the coldest on record. I mean the schools even closed it was so cold! Unfortunately for many families like mine, a cold winter means high energy costs. It can be quite costly to heat a home, especially in older houses with poor insulation, and with family members who think they should be able to run around in shorts and a t-shirt. Um…no.
Fortunately, there are ways for everyone to save on energy costs without spending a fortune on new appliances and alternate energy sources. The experts at Gas South sent me these tips and I found them so helpful I had to share them with you:
- Maintain your heating system. Unkempt heating systems and water heaters lead to inefficient energy and higher bills. Be sure to update your system by keeping the air filters clean. Hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit every couple years to keep your system running for longer.
- Insulate windows and doors. Before you think you need to reinsulate the entire home, try purchasing weather stripping from your local home improvement store. Add the stripping to all windows and doors, and use caulk to seal especially drafty openings. This will keep the cold air out and the hot air in.
- Apply insulation to your hot water pipe. Insulating hot water pipes can raise water temperatures two to four degrees as opposed to non-insulated pipes. The great news is that you can insulate hot water pipes yourself using store-bought pipe sleeves. Be sure to insulate the portion of the pipe that is exposed to cold air (before it enters the wall) for maximum effect.
- Let the sunshine in! During the day, lower the temperature of your thermostat and allow some sunshine to heat your home. Open blinds and drapes for added warmth.
- Use appliances wisely. You’d be surprised by how much energy you can save by adjusting how you use your appliances. When using the washing machine, be sure to use cold water – your clothes will get just as clean and you’ll save on water heating. When running the dishwasher, make sure you have a full load of dishes. And be sure to unplug smaller appliances, like toasters, blenders, toaster ovens, and hairdryers, when they are not in use.
- Bundle up! You’ll be less tempted to crank up the heat if you’re dressed warmly. Use blankets and socks to keep yourself warm.