After that mild December we were treated to, Mother Nature is definitely not shying away from cold temperatures. The bone-chilling weather we’ve had of late has made us crank up our heat, as well as our heating bills. New Jersey Natural Gas and the Department of Energy have a few tips to help us all save money as winter rolls along.
The DOE can come to your home and grade it based on its energy efficiency. A simple 1-10 scale is used, with an easy to understand breakdown of the assessment of your home. The great thing about getting your home’s energy report card is that it can have positive effects on its resale value. When buying a home, these scores can help a Buyer anticipate energy bill and improvement costs. Who wouldn’t want that?
Simple changes to your thermostat can help to reduce those high energy bills. There’s no point in heating an empty space! Make sure you invest in an electronic thermostat where you can program the settings to go 10 degrees lower when no one is home. Bundle up under those covers at night so that you can turn the temperature down 10 degrees once again. Doing this can save you up to 20% on those monthly bills.
Ease into it
We don’t want to shock our bodies into these cold temperatures. Our homes should be comfortable living spaces. Try easing into the process. Simply turning the heat down by one degree for 24 hours straight will reduce your bill by 3%. Once your bodies become more used to the colder temperatures, you will be wondering why you had it so hot in the first place!
What are some of the things that you do to cut down on energy costs?
An energy audit can easily identify replacements that improve the energy usage of your home. If your home was built prior to 2006, you should consider an energy audit. Below is basic information on reducing energy costs for your home.
Energy Audit Guidance
An Energy Audit evaluates different aspects of your home. The cost of a professional audit can range based on the size of your home and the scope of the audit. They sometimes cost a few hundred dollars, although rebates are usually offered by utility companies or local communities. Professional auditors use a wide range of equipment to measure energy efficiency. Equipment such as infrared detectors can reveal hidden areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.
Energy audits narrow in on causes of heat loss such as drafty windows and doors. It can also include a review of appliances, the brand of light bulbs that you use, the productivity of your heating system, the type of thermostat that controls the heating system, insulation in exterior spaces, and water usage practices. Although some repairs can be costly, they often lead to matching savings in a short period of time. The repairs can also elevate the value of your property and make it more comfortable. Guidance on selecting an auditor can be found at the US Department of Energy website.
Homeowners can perform a introductory do-it-yourself home energy audit by tracking down air gaps in easy to find locations such as windows and doors. Outlets and pipes are other common sources of air leaks. Caulking gaps can be inexpensive yet lead to tremendous savings. Typical best practices include purchasing EnergyStar rated appliances and high efficiency heating and cooling units. For additional do-it-yourself assessments, visit www.energysavers.gov.
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