With winter fast approaching, now’s the time to start thinking about ways to cut your home’s energy costs before the snow starts falling. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends an average of $2,200 per year on utilities, with heating and cooling expenses being the cause of the highest among utility bills.
How do you cut costs without wearing your parka indoors? We asked a few of our Home Service Connections partners for advice. Here are their recommendations to help you save energy, money and resources while staying warm this winter.
Every home is different when it comes to ways it can lose energy, so it’s best to have an energy audit conducted on your house by a qualified professional, according to Ron Jacque, general manager of TR Young Services. The audit consists of a series of tests and inspections to reveal weak points in your home’s energy efficiency.
“Essentially, you want to put a blanket, or leak preventer, around your home to reduce energy loss,” said Jacque. “Some areas need a heavier blanket than others, but by performing the energy audit and making corrections based on the findings, your energy bill can be reduced from 5 to 30 percent.”
If you’re not able to schedule an energy audit this winter, here are some simple actions you can take to help save money on your utilities.
- Replace light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs
- Upgrade older appliances to energy-efficient models
- Close internal doors and vents in spare rooms
- Unplug seldom-used appliances
- Change HVAC air filters routinely and have your system checked each season
- Seal door and window gaps with weather-stripping
- Check to ensure attic and basement insulation is adequate
You should also make sure your house humidifier, if you have one, is working. “Adding humidity to the air can trick the body into thinking it’s warmer than it is,” said Chris Teets, general manager of A Action Home Services. In addition to using a humidifier, his firm recommends setting the fan on your HVAC system to the “circulate” or “on” position to evenly distribute heat and prevent hot and cold spots throughout your home.
Whether you’re maintaining, updating or planning a total renovation, check Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections website to find a trusted contractor in your area.