Around winter most people are thinking wearily about the incoming heating costs of their home. So we look for ways to conserve energy, and make our homes more air-tight. There are always the tried and true methods such as wrap your pipes, use black out drapes, weatherstripping, etc. Those will always work, and every home should consider those methods as ways to conserve and contain the heat in your home. Remember, even the small things we do can add up to big savings.

But there are other methods that can make a large impact, for even bigger savings. Of course, many of the methods require a bit of an investment. Sometimes small, others large, but the savings for your home annually and through the years makes these investments more than worth it.

 Over the years there seem to be more and more high-efficiency  utilities and technology, allowing for “smarter” homes. Not only will these improvements save you money and keep you and your home warm in the winter, they will make your home energy- efficient for year round savings. With the added benefit of having a smaller footprint on the Earth.

Ok, so what are these heat and money conserving improvements? Take a look:

Add A Programmable Thermostat

By adding a programmable thermostat and lowering the temperature of your home by 7-10 degrees for 8 hours out of the day, most efficiently while you are away at work and when the sun can heat your home, can save you 10% every year in home energy costs. This is a relatively inexpensive home upgrade that can save you hundreds.

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Use an Energy Monitor

A home energy monitor keeps track of each appliance and energy user in the home and lets you see the data in real time. It can also project your monthly electric bill. By doing so, it can help you figure out what is costing you more than other items, and help you to be mindful with usage. Simply being mindful can save you 15-20% annually.

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Switch To A More Efficient Energy

If you switch to systems such as geothermal heating, biomass stoves, solar panels, and even fuel cells, the savings for you and your home can be dramatic. Of course you have to figure out which source is the best for your home, mostly based on the conditions you live in and your own personal preferences and budget. But these items can often be an inexpensive way to save yourself hundreds, if not thousands.

Geothermal is expensive, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. They can save you anywhere from 30-60% on heating and cooling costs every year. biomass stoves are inexpensive, effective, better for the environment, easy to install, and save you hundreds each year. Solar panels are the wave of the future. Tesla is even making solar panel roof shingles, and boy are they beautiful. They are also extremely durable, and can cost less than adding or replacing a traditional rood. This is because traditional roof shingles are heavy, which means they cost more to transport. They also encounter breakage in transfer that you don’t get with solar shingles. The cost of production is also much higher for traditional shingles because the production process is completely inefficient. So if solar shingles are cheaper than a traditional shingled roof, look beautiful, lasts twice as long as shingles, and produce off-the-grid cheap energy for your home… who would still choose a traditional roof? Tesla has combined this with a sleek fuel cell that can be installed in or out of your home. Again, just because it is Tesla doesn’t mean it is expensive. They pride themselves on making energy efficiency more affordable with each step they take. Plus they aren’t the only company getting into solar paneled roof shingles, and away from the traditional ugly bulky panels.

And just look how pretty they are (yes, seriously, these are actually mini solar panels):

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Thermal Mass Flooring

Thermal mass flooring holds temperature better, placing less strain on your A/C or heater. These are made even more efficient if you have radiant heat flooring. These two can lead up to a surprising savings.

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These might seem like expensive ticket items, but the pay off is grand. But, if those just aren’t in the cards for you at the moment, fear not, there are TONS of other things that are small, easy, and inexpensive that you can do to reduce your heating costs:

  • adjust water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees
  • caulk any cracks or leaks
  • insulate attic, basement, and garage- especially the doors
  • shrink wrap your windows- or buy a $2 window film (can retain 55% of your homes heat
  • switch your ceiling fan to reverse flow so air will move down from the ceiling
  • blackout curtains can save you big
  • cover door drafts
  • get a water heater blanket
  • high-efficiency shower head

There’s plenty more where that came from, and we hope you take the time to seek out as many money and energy saving hacks as possible. Because who wants to spend tons of money… on anything…