aside Saving on heating energy bills is as easy as 1-2-3

Who experiences shock when they open their home heating bill?  If you could lower your heating bill by a couple hundred dollars, would you give it a try?  I’m here to tell you that it’s as easy as 1-2-3!

And the best part? No need to run to the hardware store or start a home improvement project!  You can be well on your way to saving a few hundred dollars today by making a couple of easy tweaks to your daily routine. 

Living here in the Northeast, we spend about half our energy costs on heating our home and about 20% on heating hot water.  Here are some tips to stay to help avoid costly heating bills once winter hits:

ONE setting and one setting only for your washing machine: “cold” and “XL”.  Washing with hot water is literally throwing money and energy down the drain.  IMG_1171With advancements in washing machine design as well as in detergents, cold water does the job just fine for cleaning clothes.  Hot water is actually overkill except for seriously soiled laundry.  Hot water also does real damage to clothes, shrinking, fading and wearing fabrics down.  

Bottom line savings – $-$$   If you do a load of laundry a day, making this switch can save you between $90-$200 a year (depending on gas or electric water heating). 

TWO heating settings on your thermostats.  Program your home’s thermostats to match the schedule you are Home and Away (or Asleep).   When home, set the thermostat for 68 deg. F.  IMG_1172When you are out of the house for work or school, or sleeping, lower the setting to 62 deg. F.  Ramp the heat back up a half hour before you return home.  This will leave your home nice and toasty; plus you avoid paying for heating a home with no one in it.  Same with bed time.  Schedule the thermostat setting down for a time once you and your family are in bed, and have the heat come back up before the first person wakes up.  It’s been shown that we experience a multitude of health benefits when we sleep with lower room temperatures (60-68 deg. F.), so not only will you save money and energy, you’ll improve your health too!

Bottom line savings – $-$$   Depending on the size and weather-tightness of your home and the type of heating system installed, you can save 6-10% of your annual energy costs ($85-$140).

THREE minute shorter showers.  It’s amazing how just shortening your shower by a few minutes can really add up to savings!  We experienced a big windfall when we bought timers for each shower.  My sons had a competition to see who could completely shower in 5 minutes – the only rule was they had to actually wash!Shower timer (2)

Bottom line savings – $$-$$$   If everyone in a family of four showers daily, and drops their shower time from 10 minutes to 7 minutes, that equates to saving 3,300 gallons of water and over $450 in gas bill savings.  Now that’s smart way to clean up heating cost savings.   

BONUS: if you replace typical 3 GPM (gallon per minute) shower heads with low-flow heads (2.5 GPM), you can pocket another $150.  Play around with this shower water and energy calculator to see what you and your family can save.

AN EXTRA BONUS: Most water heaters are set higher than need be, usually at 130 or 140 deg. F.  Not only is this a scalding risk, it wastes a load of energy and money.  Here is how you can lower your hot water heater to 120 deg F, and save yourself another 4-20% in annual energy costs.

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