According to the Department of Energy, 56 percent of the total energy use in American homes is spent on heating and cooling. That explains why utility bills are so much greater during months when the weather is the most severe. When you find ways to make your home more energy efficient, you ultimately save money on your utility costs.
Photo by Norm via Wikimedia Commons
The idea of using a ceiling fan to help keep your house warmer in winter may sound completely nuts. Heat moves through a house by convection. Since hot air rises, convection causes the heat to leave the walls and circulate around the room. By using a ceiling fan, you create a down draft thatforces that hot air off the ceiling and down to the bottom of the room, where it can better circulate around you.
If you live in a place where you can choose your electricity provider, take the time to compare electricity prices. What may seem like a great deal may not be. Make sure that you read the fine print. The prices you see may be what you would pay for using a certain amount of kilowatt hours. Take the time to look at your overall usage, not just in winter, but also in summer.
Photo by Dxmurphy via Wikimedia Commons
Arguably, one of the best investments you can make to save money throughout the year is a programmable thermostat. It can save you as much as 10 percent on your household heating and cooling costs by programing the thermostat to multiple settings throughout the day. Lowering the temperature during the day when no one is home eliminates paying for heat no one is using.
Photo by Tiger Girl via Flickr
Instead of using incandescent Christmas lights, use LED lights. They're available at most major retailers, and although they cost more to purchase, they use far less energy, don't get nearly as hot, and last considerably longer – longer than CFL light bulbs. You'll also reduce the risk of fire.
Photo by Nieuw via wikimedia Commons
If you have single-pane windows, you're probably letting a lot of cold air in and, in the process, letting the heat in your home escape. Investing in double pane windows will increase the value of your home, and will also lower your utility bills. You may also be able to get a tax credit for making you home more energy efficient. Heat can escape through doors, too. You may want to consider purchasing weatherstripping as a way to seal both your doors and windows.
Photo by CountyLemonade via Flickr
Cold weather is no friend to humans, and it certainly isn't to your vehicle. If you're used to driving to work everyday, consider other options. The time you spend sitting in traffic is using up a tremendous amount of gas. It's also putting a lot of wear and tear on your car, adding to the cost of maintaining it. If you can take public transportation to work, that could save you a lot of money. Talk to people you work with to see if they're interested in starting a car pool.
Thanks to Martin York for the contribution! You can contact martin at firstname.lastname@example.org