The winter wind is here to stay for a while, and like a new roommate, we have to adjust to the changes that follow. On the other hand, you could go on vacation during the winter months! However, in both scenarios you will need to think about what your home is doing to keep up with your comforts when you’re home or away, and how you can save some money on energy bills during the winter months.
Heating and Cooling
When it comes to heating and cooling, it’s important to understand what a comfortable atmosphere is and what’s an over use of central air conditioning. During the winter months, you need to be mindful of the water and pipes in your home and prevent them from freezing. This means that your thermostat should always, at the very least be at 50 degrees. There is nothing worse than leaving for the winter months only to come back to a giant mess of burst pipes.
To get a better feel of where your comfort zone is with the indoor temperature, try a thermostat journal, start at 60 degrees for one day, and assess if this is something you can handle with a little extra blankets and sweatshirts to get by for the entire winter. If it is too cold, raise the temperature by one or two degrees and test again. Continue this test and make notes of the pros and cons for each day at a different temperature to find a setting that is most energy efficient and will allow for a comfortable home experience.
This will mostly be for those who retreat to the sunny states for winter, but the water heater is a source of money you can save on when you’re away for long periods of time. The water heater is not generally considered when trying to save money on energy bills in the winter, but it is an important source of potential waste. Turn down your water heaters to the lowest setting for your sunny escapade, this will drain less funds in your account and also keep your water lines from freezing in the tank and line, then simply turn it back to its original settings when you return home.
Electronics and Appliances
This is the most underappreciated energy saver in most homes, as it is seen as a minimal impact on the bills. The truth is however, electronics and appliances are called “energy vampires” for a reason. When the appliances like the television and other things are off, they still drain energy from the grid. Before leaving for the vacation, go through your entire home and unplug every unnecessary appliance in the house, from toasters to televisions, to electric pots, digital clocks, and cell phone chargers. All of these appliances drain energy even when not in use, and this should be the energy saving tactic practiced even when not on vacation. Not only will this save you a surprising amount on your energy bill, but also this will help prevent fire hazards in the off chance of a power surge while no one is home.
Since manual lights are becoming outdated for efficiency, automatic lights are now the new trend and will help in keeping away burglars while you’re out. Most people tend to leave on a living room lamp while away to help make the home look occupied and less attractive to the malicious intent of others. While this safety practice is good, it is also a waste of energy. With the use of automatic lights, you can program specific times of the day to have the lights turn on and off. Now you have safety AND energy efficiency!
If you don’t have automatic lights, have a friend house-sit while you’re away and water the plants while making the house seem busy. Just be sure to hide all the snacks!
Blinds and Curtains
Most of the time people don’t consider the use of blinds or curtains as a means of keeping your energy bill in check, but they indeed can play an integral part. Blinds and curtains can help you conserve your heat energy. Lower the blinds and close the curtains when leaving for vacation and this will help hold the heat in the home during the winter, meaning your homes thermostat won’t need to give any extra effort.
If you’re going on an extended vacation to avoid the unpleasantries of winter, do your best to empty your fridge and freezer so that you can unplug your refrigerator and ride yourself of that energy sucker. Once you have the fridge emptied, be sure to leave the doors open to air dry, and clean it out while you have the opportunity, and as a last added measure, place a box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer to draw in any moisture and prevent any kind of mold growth. Once you return home, you will have a nicely cleaned fridge ready for your grocery load.
Enjoy your winter retreat with proper preparation and money savers. Follow these simple tips and you will see a pleasant reduction in your bills and feel better about your time away!
If you have any remodel or renovation needs, give us a call today at Xpand, Inc.! Our specialty is the home, and all forms of building and altering! We will Xpand your dream home into reality!