Energy Impact Illinois is helping homeowners to get their homes ready for winter with energy efficiency tips that help the environment and reduce utility bills. Energy efficiency is the process of making more with less – more comfort in your home and savings on your bills – by making changes to reduce the energy you need. Particularly in the winter months, it’s important to implement a few easy steps to make sure you aren’t paying more than you have to. The average Illinois household spends $3,000 per year on energy. Making efficiency improvements can help reduce these costs by 15 to 30 percent– that’s $450 to $900 per year!
Top 10 tips for getting your home ready for winter:
- Install (or use) a programmable thermostat— If you have central heating or cooling in your home, using a programmable thermostat is a low cost first step to reducing your utility bills. A programmable thermostat automatically raises or lowers the temperature of your home at sets times of the day. If you don’t have one, it can be purchased at most hardware stores and installed yourself in under an hour.
- Seal air leaks around your house – About 15-35 percent of the energy used to heat and cool the average home is lost due to air leaks that are easily fixable. Sealing and insulating the "envelope" of your home — your outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — provides the biggest bang for the buck. Properly air sealing cracks and openings in your home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, and create a healthier indoor environment.
- Insulate your attic or roof – Proper insulation is a key component of an energy efficient home. Older homes are often under insulated, and many new homes can also benefit from improved insulation. Consider hiring an energy assessor who can examine your current insulation and suggest whether you should invest in this project.
- Lower your thermostat – The change of a few degrees is barely noticeable, but turning down your thermostat by just three degrees during the winter can save more than 15 percent off your total heating bill and a difference of five degrees can save up to 30 percent.
- Weather strip windows and doors – Instead of replacing windows and doors to keep the cold out, consider weather stripping your windows and doors, which will prevent drafts.
- Open your shades – Let the sun help heat your home for free. Also, consider using storm windows and remove window A/C units.
- Change your furnace filters – The older your filters are, the harder your furnace works to do its job. An easy tip for remembering to change them is when the seasons change, change your filter. You will end up getting more heat for less money.
- Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees – Water heaters require a lot of energy to get the water hot enough to use and to keep it hot. Each additional degree of heat requires more energy than the last. Bottom line - lowering your water heater temperature reduces the amount you spend on wasted energy.
- Consult an energy professional for big savings – Professional contractors can help you identify problems and recommend which improvements will give you the most cost savings and energy impact. For a list of certified contractors, visit www.theenergybills.org
- Take advantage of limited-time rebates and financing options for making energy-efficient upgrades, available from Energy Impact Illinois – For a limited time, Energy Impact Illinois is offering Chicago-area homeowners rebates of up to $1,750 to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Energy Impact Illinois is also offering special 0 percent interest loans for more in-depth efficiency projects. Simply call 1-855-9-IMPACT to take advantage of these options.
Want to learn more about how to cut your energy costs and make your home more energy efficient? Simply call 1-855-9-IMPACT or check out www.TheEnergyBills.org for more energy savings tips and resources to make your upgrades. Also, be sure to like The Energy Bills on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest tips and videos from Big Bill and Little Bill.