Reduce your energy costs this fall with these tools

by Karen on October 27, 2008

Photo by lollyknit

With the weather turning colder, high heating costs are on everyone’s minds, especially this year with energy costs higher than ever and the economy struggling.

The obvious frugal hacks are sweaters, socks, and low thermostat settings. Personally, I love chilly temperatures. There’s nothing cozier than snuggling under a blanket with some hot cocoa or tea bundled up in my warmest clothes. I gladly keep my thermostat at 60 degrees all year.

But keeping the thermostat low isn’t enough if your home isn’t energy efficient. How can you be sure you’re as efficient as possible when it comes to energy consumption? Here are some handy tools to help determine your energy rating.

• This fun, Halloween-themed Google energy tool shows you the frightening amount of money you could be spending on unnecessary energy expenses.

• Give yourself a home energy audit. Determine how efficient your home is, and how much you could save with upgrades.

Find out how much your appliances cost or compare the cost of regular lightbulbs to CFLs with these calculators.

• Finally, if you’re looking to make changes, the U.S. Department of Energy offers tips at their website to cut energy consumption (and costs) for everything from winter heating to fuel costs.

Now is the time to make your home more energy efficient if you want to save money all winter. Don’t wait until the temperature falls below 0 to start saving money!

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How I’m going to outsmart old man winter | Sense to Save
October 29, 2008 at 9:40 am

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1 Kacie October 27, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Yes indeedy! Probably next week or so, I’m going to seal our windows with adhesive foam and I’ll also cover them with plastic.

It worked really well last winter. My highest electric bill was $89, but most of the time it was $10 or $20 less.

I also put some foam insulation thingers over the electrical outlets on our exterior walls.

I don’t know how cold it actually gets where you are, so you might not need to deal with things like that.

We kept our thermostat in the mid-60s last winter and it was completely tolerable. I think I’m going to have to keep it warmer this year, though. My poor baby might be a popsicle otherwise.

2 Polly Poorhouse October 27, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Great time to think about these things. I recently went to a seminar on greener living. I live in a place where it gets cold in the winter. The local utility representative recommended insulating attics and basements first because a lot of heat is lost through them.

Not heating related, but still interesting was that the old advice to vacuum your refrigerator coils is still good. And, refrigerators that are more than 10 years old are probably costing a fortune in energy. (Of course we won’t be replacing ours any time soon for financial reasons.)

In our converted attic master bedroom where we have electric heat, we turn it off completely most days and during sleeping hours.

The rest of the house is on a programmable thermostat that we got for free from the gas company during a home energy audit. We keep the house cool and just use lots of throw blankets on the couch for watching TV or reading or other sedentary activities.

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