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November 19, 2014
Staying comfortable in winter requires energy. Fortunately our houses are outfitted with it so we are ready to keep our homes heated. When temperatures drop to freezing, our homes become safe havens from the stark winter weather. Whether you heat your home with a wood stove, fireplace, solar, natural gas or electricity, it is important to be aware of how much energy is being used. If we do not pay attention, the costs could surprise us when we least expect it. Before Colorado gets hit with too much snow, you can take a few precautionary steps to prepare your house to save energy during the winter months. Read these tips to learn how to save energy during the cold Colorado winter months.
Turn Your Thermostat Down to 68 Degrees
By lowering your thermostat a degree or two during the winter months, you will save a lot on energy costs. For each degree you lower your heat between 60 and 70-degrees, you will save an average of up to 5 percent on your heating costs. This can save you a lot of money during the cold Colorado winter months. Stay warm by wearing a sweater or using blankets in the house while keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. To save even more energy, you can turn your thermostat off or down 10 to 15 degrees during the night and bundle up under your thick winter blankets. Programmable thermostats are an excellent way to monitor your home's heating system without having to do it every time you walk in the door. Consider upgrading your system this year as the cost savings will pay over time.
Reduce Your Home's Hot Water Temperature
To reduce your heating cost on hot water, set the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to check the owner's manual of your dishwasher as it may require a higher hot water setting before doing this. If you are able to lower the temperature of your hot water, you can save an average of 7 to 11 percent of energy on heating costs. If you are unsure how to do this, you should consider having an energy audit on your home. An energy audit will make sure your home saves as much energy as possible this winter. The audit usually takes just a couple of hours and provides useful information you can use right away to conserve energy and save money.
Seal Windows and Doors
Air leaks around your windows and doors can cause pesky cold air drafts. Simply seal these leaks with caulk around your windows or doors. Caulk works best for small gaps so go to your local hardware store if you need to close a larger gap that is letting hot air escape. Besides checking for gaps around your doors and windows, look underneath your sinks or around any place you have exposed pipes, vents or electrical conduits. Seal any gaps between these fixtures and the wall. This will save energy this winter and help you stay warmer.
Take Advantage of the Colorado Sun
Even though it might be freezing outside, on the days the sun is shining let it into your house. Open your blinds and curtains on any east, south and west facing windows to welcome in the sunlight. The solar energy will naturally heat your home for a free boost of warmth. When the sun sets or passes by your window, close the blinds to reduce any escape of heat and to seal it in for the cold night ahead. The natural lighting is also helps you see to perform general tasks without having to turn on all the lights.
Maintain Your Home Heating System
Before winter sets in, schedule any necessary service for your heating system. By taking the precautionary step, you can learn if any maintenance is required and ensure you will be kept well heated throughout the winter. If you have a furnace, you should replace the filter once per month or as often as needed. Check the condition of your vent connection to the pipe and chimney. It is common for parts of these venting systems to deteriorate over time and can be a very expensive repair. To maximize energy efficiency, you can adjust the controls on your boiler or furnace and provide the optimum water and air temperature settings for your home.
Spending a few minutes to prepare your home for the Colorado winter now will spare you any headaches later on. By going through these simple tips, you can reduce the chances of having your house go without heat or being shocked by an extremely high energy bill. You are also doing something great for the environment while you lighten the load on your wallet.
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