Here we are, at the precipice of another cold New England winter. As the chilly weather settles in, homeowners like yourselves are looking for ways to stay comfortable while navigating the persistent rise in energy costs. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to lower your energy usage. The pros at Cormack compiled their go-to tips for reducing your home energy use that will help save you money without compromising your comfort.  

1. Remove any obstructions from your air vents.

In order to adequately warm your home, it’s important that your heat can properly circulate unobstructed in each room. Pull furniture, curtains, and other accessories away from heat vents, registers, and radiators to ensure proper circulation. 

2. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades.

It might seem counterintuitive to use a ceiling fan when you're feeling cold, but it actually can help to warm you up. Let your ceiling fan turn at a low speed in a clockwise direction during the colder months. This will help to push the warm air that gathers near your ceiling and distribute it evenly throughout the room.

3. Seal any cracks or openings.

Tiny air gaps in your home can cause the same loss of energy as leaving a window open year-round. Use caulk or weatherstripping around doors and window frames. Seal gaps where pipes enter your home with expanding foam insulation. Door sweeps and draft stoppers will also help seal the space between the bottom of your door and the door frame.

Lower your thermostat to save energy and money

4. Turn down your thermostat.

According to the US Department of Energy, you can save anywhere from 1 to 3 percent on your utility bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. When your thermostat is at a low setting, your home loses heat more slowly than if it were at a higher temperature. In other words, cooler indoor temperatures help your home retain heat longer, reducing the amount of energy required to keep your house comfortable. 

Pro Tip: Switching to a smart thermostat is a high-tech way to save electricity. Because you can customize when your furnace runs, you can reduce your electric bill without sacrificing comfort.

5. Schedule your annual heating system check-up.

A tune-up keeps your system running efficiently and identifies problems early, saving you the inconvenience and discomfort of a breakdown during a cold snap. A smooth-running furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home warm. It’s this efficiency that helps to lower your electric bills and increase the lifespan of your system.

6. Unplug unused electronics.

Anything with a digital display or glowing light is using a continuous trickle of energy, even when it’s not operating. Culprits include devices that operate with a remote control, desktop computers and displays, printers, televisions, microwaves, and video game consoles. If you aren’t using it, unplug it to save energy. 

Pro Tip: Installing smart plugs in your home enables you to control the power to most wired appliances using a simple tap on your phone or voice command. Some smart plugs even come with added features, such as energy monitoring.

Open curtains to warm a room

7. Let the sun in during the day and close the drapes at night.

Open your shades or blinds during the day, so the sun’s rays can warm your space. If you have southern exposure, the sunlight may be enough to warm the room to the point that your heater runs less frequently — or not at all. At night, close drapes and shades across all of your windows to prevent drafts and slow heat loss through the glass.

Lower your water temperature to save money

8. Lower your water temperature.

In many homes, the second-largest use of heat is hot water. Resetting your water heater to 120 degrees will yield about 10 percent in savings on your energy bills. When you are out of town, turn it down even further. Additionally, run your washing machine on the cool or cold water setting. Today’s detergents will clean just as effectively as if you were using hot water.

9. Maximize your dishwasher and washing machine capacity.

One of the most simple energy saving tips is to always run full loads of clothes or dishes whenever possible. Running partial loads takes as much energy as running a full load. You’ll end up using more power and water with multiple loads. 

Home Remodeling and Construction in NH's White Mountains and Lakes Region, and Western Maine

If you need support getting your home ready for the winter, contact the award-winning professionals at Cormack Construction. We’re your local home building, remodeling, and maintenance experts.

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