Once again, a new year is upon us. While many make goals for eating better or going to the gym, there are other resolutions to consider. Making a conscious effort to make smart energy decisions and reduce your energy consumption can save you money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. This year, keep up with your energy resolutions during every season!
The winter months often bring frigid weather and, in turn, high heating bills. Plus, people tend to spend more time in their homes during colder months. Add these energy resolutions to your list this winter:
- Seal out drafts. Old, drafty windows and doors could be responsible for losing 25-30% of heating or cooling energy, which can add up to hundreds or thousands of wasted dollars each year. Install weatherstripping, door sweeps, and draft stoppers on any door or window that leaks.
- Schedule HVAC maintenance. Your HVAC system could have clogged air ducts, dirty air filters, and more that cause it not to work properly and use more energy. Schedule an HVAC check-up annually to ensure your system works properly and efficiently.
- Unblock air vents. If furniture or curtains block your vents, your HVAC system works harder than needed. Check each vent to ensure it’s clear of any blockages.
- Turn down the thermostat. A few degrees can end up saving you hundreds of dollars each year. Set your thermostat to 68°F in winter when you’re home and awake and lower it when you leave or go to sleep. Bundle up with a blanket instead!
The end of winter brings a fresh opportunity to save energy (and money!) in different ways:
- Open your windows. As the weather shifts, take advantage of the warm air by opening your windows instead of using your heating or air conditioning.
- Use natural light. In the spring, the days get longer. Use this to your advantage by opening up the curtains and using skylights instead of artificial lighting.
- Cook outside. On warmer spring days, opt to grill your meals outdoors. Cooking outdoors keeps heat out of your home and lowers energy costs by keeping the stove and oven powered off.
- Use ceiling fans. When warm weather arrives, don’t jump to turn on your AC. Instead, use ceiling or standing fans to keep your home cool and comfortable.
- Replace air filters. Before powering on your AC for the season, make sure your air filters are clean. Dirty air filters mean poor air quality and flow—and higher energy costs!
As temperatures peak, so does energy usage. Here are some hot-weather tips for saving energy:
- Turn up the temperature. The hotter it gets, the more tempting it is to crank the AC. But as mentioned above, this can result in astronomical energy bills. During summer, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 78⁰F when you’re home and awake. Do not lower your thermostat to its lowest setting, thinking it will cool your house quicker—it won’t (but it will increase your energy bill). Air conditioning can only cool the air 15-20⁰ lower than the outside temperature.
- Avoid cooking during the day. Cooking large meals during peak-heat hours can skyrocket the temperature in your home, causing your AC to work harder. Try to do the bulk of your cooking early in the morning and after the sun goes down.
- Get outside. The less you’re in your home, the less energy you use! Summer is the best time to get out, get active, and take advantage of all the outdoor activities you can’t do during the colder months.
- Close the blinds. While using natural light to cut down on artificial lighting is great at times, it may not be the most efficient choice in the summer. When direct sunlight hits your home, keep the curtains closed so your home’s temperature doesn’t rise.
When fall arrives, the sweltering hot weather and high cooling costs leave. But that doesn’t mean you should ease up on your energy-saving resolutions:
- Turn off the AC. Fall brings perfect, cool weather that allows us to turn off the AC and push off turning on the heat for a while. Take advantage of the comfortable temperatures while they last!
- Get energy–efficient lighting. Are you using old, traditional, outdated light bulbs? There’s no better time to switch to LEDs. LEDs are a little more expensive upfront, but they last longer, are more energy-efficient, and have a lower maintenance cost than incandescent bulbs.
- Reverse ceiling fans. It’s a common misconception that ceiling fans only cool you down. In the fall, set your fan to turn clockwise—this pushes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down.
- Prep for winter. Preparing your heating and cooling systems for the winter is essential, so they run efficiently. Ensure your HVAC is ready for winter by cleaning dead grass and high leaves around units, filling your propane or oil tank before it gets too cold, testing your thermostat, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors, and more.
Make this year your most efficient yet by keeping up with your energy resolutions! If you have any questions about how UGI EnergyLink can help you become more energy-efficient, contact us today.