As much as I love to focus on interior spaces and how the design you approve and the materials you select can make a home both green and gorgeous simultaneously, the reality is that energy efficiency is a huge component of sustainable living. With the changing seasons, it’s time to admit that your home is not ready for the cold winter and spend an hour or two on the un-glamourous part of smart home ownership.
Here are 3 favorite options to help make your home ready for winter. They are an easy way to save around $100 per month this winter.
First – change the furnace filters. Unless you have changed them in the last 3 months, it’s time to do it. Starting the winter with clean, un-blocked filters is like starting the day with clean clothes. Except with a furnace, the dirtier the filters gets, the more it costs to operate, and the more polluting particles escape into your vents. All hardware stores carry a variety of filter sizes. Cost = a few dollars per filter. Benefit = cleaner air and savings on your gas bill. For those who like accessories, add this simple furnace whistle onto the new, clean filters and they’ll tell you next time they need to be changed!
Second – wrap the water heater. The benefits here are two twofold. If the water stored in the tank is kept warm, it delivers warm water to your faucets faster and requires less energy to do so. The result is a hot shower, faster and for less money. These blankets are readily available locally, or here’s an online option from AMConservation. Cost = less than $100 and they’ll last for years. Benefit = less water used waiting for it to warm up, and savings on your gas bill.
Third — block the attic stairs. We all know heat rises, and that hole in your ceiling is just pulling money out of your wallet. Literally. Ok, well not literally, but almost, it’s such a direct waste of money. I covered ours, and the temperature at the opening increased by 5 degrees immediately. Considering the pros estimate that each degree of heat represents about a 1% cost savings, the savings here will be noticeable.
So, three easy steps to make winter a bit more bearable, on your wallet, on your air quality, and on yourselves. No excuses!