It’s that time of year again. Gifts are given, holiday lights go up and “holiday guests are coming to town!” – isn’t that how the song goes? You’re more than delighted to have family and friends stay in your humble abode, but then it hits you – you don’t have a guest room! You prefer to not have your guests sleeping on a pullout couch in the living room. Well, here are some suggestions on how to accommodate your holiday guests properly.
During the winter season, most Americans experience low temperatures and an increase in utility bills, especially for the cost of heating their homes. Each year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 43 percent of utility costs go toward heating and cooling. With even warm states experiencing an unusually cold winter this year, more Americans are unprepared for the additional costs associated with keeping their house warm. Below are a few ways you can help reduce heating bills.
- Use Available Resources. You could save approximately 10 percent a year by purchasing a programmable thermostat which automatically turns down the heat at night or when you are not at home. Try setting your thermostat as low as is comfortable and instead wear warmer clothing, make use of blankets and put flannel sheets on your bed.
- Insulate to Safeguard Heat. Up to 60 percent of warm air can be lost even before it reaches the register if your ducts are not insulated. The ducts in your attic and crawlspaces should be sealed. Otherwise, both money and energy will be wasted.
- Clean Filters and Registers. Make sure that you clean or replace filters on furnaces as needed. In addition, clean warm-air registers throughout your home, baseboard heaters and radiators. Also, double-check they are not blocked by furniture, drapes or any other obstruction.
- Conserve Warmth for Rooms Used. Close off access to registers in rooms that are not frequented. If you only use your spare bedroom when guests visit, you can avoid pumping warm air into an under-utilized space.
- Prevent Heat Loss from the Water Heater. Insulation blankets are not very expensive (typically under $20) and are specifically designed to reduce the loss of heat. Simply wrap the blanket around the hot water heater, especially if you have an unheated basement.
- Buy Green. If you are in a situation where it’s necessary to install new equipment altogether, make sure to select energy efficient products. They will cost more upfront, but the lifelong costs will be smaller, and you will decrease your energy “footprint.”
Reduce heating bills by following these tips to trim your heat consumption, save money and use the energy you pay for more wisely.