Reduce Your Energy Consumption This Winter!

By Adrienne Van Dooren

Reduce Your Energy ConsumptionNews reports cite that heating oil costs have risen up to 36% … just when most of us can least afford it. And when fuel bills go up, your bank account goes down.

Here are ways to reduce energy consumption this winter without breaking the bank:

1.  Curtains can really cut costs.
One simple and affordable home décor tip is to hang energy-saving curtains in the bedrooms, den and any other room regularly frequented. A true energy-saving curtain is critical because in a lot of older homes the cost of changing windows can be exorbitant. Windows are really the weak link in efficient home heating and cooling, and quality energy-saving curtains provide 85% of the benefit of double-glazed low emissivity windows.

2.  BUT if you live in an older home and really want to make the upgrades, the time to do it is now, so you can save some money this winter.
Consider Energy-Star windows and doors, which will help lower energy bills. Still, you may want to consider purchasing energy saving curtains for the additional conservation opportunity.

3.  Throw it down.
Homeowners should lay down area rugs, which will also help lock warmth in rooms with hardwood floors.

4.  Do sweat the small stuff.
Programmable thermostats, timers for lights, and LED light bulbs will help trim some costs off that monthly home bill.

5.  Weatherize.
Caulk and weatherstrip any doors and windows that leak air.

6.  Check for and plug any gaps.
This needs to be done around pipes, ducts, fans and vents that go through walls, ceilings and floors from heated to unheated spaces.

7.  Clean the furnace filter before the new heating season
That way it will work at its proper capacity.

8.  Reduce hot water use.
By taking short showers instead of baths and lowering your hot water heater from 150 degrees to 120 degrees, you can shave off your energy use.

9.  Remove window air conditioners or install a cover to stop drafts.

10.  Try not to forget… Clean the lint filter on your dryer after every run, so that clothes dry faster, conserving energy.
Adjust the water level on the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water. Try using only a cold rinse. Unplug those appliances that are not regularly in use.

Adrienne Van Dooren is an interior designer, green expert, marketing director for My Green Cottage and author of The House that Faux Built: Transform Your Home with Paint, Plaster and Creativity.

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