From increased utility usage to holiday gifts and travel, winter is an expensive season. To balance out your holiday shopping and household costs, here are 9 ways you can save money during winter and see the benefits last all season long.
1. Energy Audit – An energy audit of your home is a great place to start. Some utility companies will perform them for free! This will show you exactly where most of the warm air is escaping and cold air is entering. They can also provide detailed plans on ways to warm up your home. A DIY method is to hold a stick of incense near windows, doors, and any other place there might be a gap; then watch for the smoke to blow inwards. Leaks can be fixed by using caulk, insulation, or by replacing worn weather-stripping.
2. Use LED holiday lights – Ditch the traditional incandescent bulb and use LED lights, which last up to 25 times longer and use 75% less energy. Set your lights on a timer so they turn off during the day to further decrease your energy usage.
3. Insulate your pipes – Uninsulated water heater pipes take longer to heat up, which wastes water usage. You can easily insulate your pipes yourself by purchasing pre-slit pipe foam and duct tape. By spending less than $15 to insulate your pipes, you can raise the water temperature by two to four degrees.
4. Stop drafts – Drafts affect your energy bill more than you would think. A draft from a door or window can waste anywhere between 5-30% of your energy use. Rather than replace your doors and windows, which can quickly add up, use a reliable and inexpensive draft snake. Purchase one from a store, or make one yourself using a rolled towel or long stocking.
5. Heat only your main rooms – It takes much more energy to heat an entire home, as opposed to a few select rooms. Close the vents in any rooms that don’t need to be heated, such as the laundry room or unused guest room.
6. Fireplace/Indoor stove – When properly used and maintained, they can be efficient sources of heat for multiple rooms and/or your entire home. Some indoor stoves can generate more heat than common home furnaces.
7. Maximize your dishwasher – Today’s dishwashers provide enough water power to break down food particles from dishes. Save water by skipping the pre-rinse and put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher. You can also save on energy costs by switching your dishwasher setting from heat dry to air dry.
8. Replace furnace filters – During the winter, furnace filters quickly build up dirt, resulting in restricted airflow and increased energy usage. Replace or clean your filter once a month. If you’d rather avoid a monthly task, switch to a permanent filter. While there is the initial cost, which ranges anywhere between $50 and $1,000, you reduce waste and the effort of buying and replacing a disposable filter each month.
9. Turn down your water heater – If you haven’t manually adjusted your water heater thermostat, it may be set at the manufacturer setting of 140 degrees, which is much hotter than necessary. By lowering the thermostat to 122 degrees, you can save up to $61 every year.
Incorporate these 9 money-saving winter tips to keep more money in your wallet to spend on holiday shopping!
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