As temperatures continue to drop in Pennsylvania, many homeowners see their energy bills rise. Whether you are turning up the heat or turning on the holiday lights, energy usage tends to increase during these cooler months. Yet, there are many steps you can take — from small adjustments to major modifications — to stay warm and use less energy this winter. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Don’t Heat an Empty Home
If household members are at school and work during the day, or you are traveling for the holiday season, adjust your thermostat to limit the amount of wasted heat. While you can do this manually each day, programmable and smart thermostats can automatically keep your house cozy when it counts and save energy when everyone’s away.
The selection of smart thermostats is ever-expanding. Many keep track of how much you would save based on your region, size of home and heating type. In many cases, this investment results in significant savings.
Some utility companies also offer free programmable or smart thermostats to encourage their customers to use energy wisely. Check with your local utility to see what programs they offer.
Control the Air Flow
By sealing air leaks in a home, an average household can cut 10 percent of its monthly energy bill. Use caulk to seal any cracks or small openings on surfaces such as where window frames meet the house structure. Check your weather stripping in exterior door frames and replace any that is deteriorated or cracked.
Sealing windows and doors will help, but the worst culprits are cutouts for pipes or wires, gaps around recessed lights, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Do-it-yourselfers can buy material that expands to fill the gaps and prevent air from escaping.
Once the arctic blast of deep winter appears, many homeowners worry they won’t be able to keep their homes comfortable without their energy bills going through the roof. Luckily, innovations in smart home technology can help you keep your house warm and toasty without breaking the bank.
Smart Thermostat - Among the most popular and arguably the most effective at improving energy efficiency, smart thermostats can learn the temperature preferences of the homeowner and auto-adjust to his or her schedule.
Smart hubs – Just by the sound of your voice, you can control multiple smart-home devices interconnected through a central hub. Most of the big manufactures offer hubs for their various products, but products from different makers can’t always integrate easily with each other, if at all. It’s important to discern your budget and lifestyle. Then it’s easier to decide your home automation needs and identify which products offer the most compatibility.
For more information and tips on how to make your home more efficient this winter, go to https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips.