It’s getting chilly outside. Winter is the time of year where it’s too easy to waste all kinds of energy and it can cost you a lot of extra dollars. There are a few quick and easy things you can do that will save you a big bucks. Start with an online survey from The U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver. If you have a few more bucks set aside now to save a lot later, consider having someone audit your house. The Building Performance Institute Inc. can help you find a local contractor who has been certified to audit your home here.
If you are raring to put a few items on the honey-do list this weekend here are a few quick and easy energy saving moves you can do yourself:
1) Install a programmable thermostat.
2) Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket (this will run you about $20). Make sure your water heater is at a low setting (usually a little lever near the bottom – even I was able to find this sucker, and I’m terrible at this stuff).
3) Add weather stripping to your windows and doors where needed (you know where you’ve felt a draft coming in – every time you feel it, imaging the dollars slipping right out those cracks.
4) Have your HVAC equipment serviced. Last time I had someone out, they let me know that some shrubs around my A/C unit were making it work twice as hard and once they were gone it saved me a ton.
5) Purely a money saver: If you are not locked in at a good per-therm rate and you use natural gas, call the gas company to lock in a good rate per-therm. Call around to a few to find out their best deal – if you don’t want to switch, your current company will likely match the lowest rate you find in order to keep your business. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t locked in last year; when I finally locked in a rate, I cut my gas bill by 50%!