The frosty winter months are fast approaching. For many of us, this seasonal change marks a welcome migration indoors, but in doing so we run the risk of doubling our utility bills and consuming unnecessary energy.
Between 40 and 70% of our home energy use is wasted, and this figure peaks when the days get shorter and the nights get colder. Luckily, a few simple hints and tricks can significantly save our home-based energy consumption, and none of these need to be expensive or time-consuming. With this in mind, use the guide below to turn your house into an eco-friendly home this winter.
Find and seal leaks
Air leakage inside and outside your home can waste up to 20% to 30% of the energy you pay for. It can also cause moisture and indoor air quality problems. You should inspect all areas where two different materials meet, including exterior corners, electrical outlets, door and window frames. Holding a lit incense stick next to your door and window frames is a neat trick to spotting air leaks in these problem areas. Depending on the size and placement of the leak, caulking, weather strips and expanding foam installation can all be used.
Turn down the heat
Heating water can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. A quick
and easy way to bring down your utility bills is to adjust the water setting: 120F or 48C is a comfortable water setting for most uses and helps you conserve energy.
Energy efficient light bulbs
Winter isn’t only cold, it’s dark as well. This translates to a greater dependency on light bulbs in and around the house. Regular light bulbs use a lot of energy and are difficult to dispose of in an environmentally-friendly way. An easy solution is to use Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) lights, energy-saving incandescents, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). These light bulbs can save you 25% to 80% of energy use, and they’re long-lasting, durable and mercury-free to boot.
The simple trick of layering your clothing goes a long way to cut costs and preserve energy. Long-johns under your trousers and a thick shirt underneath your woollen jumper will keep you warm without having to touch the thermostat.
Cooking with care
Holiday baking and hearty winter meals can push your oven into working overtime. Statistically, your oven and kitchen appliances can account for as much as 15% of your overall energy use. Simple actions to reign this in include using the right-sized pots, turning off any appliances you’re not using and, if you have one, taking advantage of your oven light to check on your meal’s progress instead of opening the door.