Fall is waning and winter is well on its way. Michiganders are no strangers to cold weather, and we know how to contend with it when we’re outdoors by layering up with scarves, gloves, sweaters, and hats. But while cranking up the thermostat might help stave off the winter chill indoors, it can also lead to higher energy costs.
Smart energy consumers know that the savings you can see on your energy bill from weatherizing your home and changing your habits a bit can add up pretty quickly.
Speaking of Thermostats. Tweaking your thermostat settings can have a significant impact on your monthly energy costs, especially during Michigan’s coldest winter months. Consider setting your thermostat at 68 when you’re home and 65 or lower for periods when you are away. According to some estimates, for every degree you turn down the thermostat, you can expect a 1% – 3% savings on your energy bill. If it sounds complicated to fiddle with your thermostat multiple times a day, consider investing in a programmable thermostat that will put your mind and your wallet at ease.
Fire up a Clean Furnace. When it’s time to switch on the heat, be sure to check the filter on your furnace. Most filters need to be changed about every three months, especially during the heating season. A clean flow of air helps reduce the amount of energy the furnace uses to operate.
Seal Those Gaps! A couple tubes of good caulk can help keep the winter winds out and the warmth in where you need it most. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends caulking windows, siding, and doors beginning with the big gaps and then going back to search out the little ones. Pay extra close attention to where plumbing, wiring, and ducts go through walls.
Defending Your Windows. Windows are one of the most vulnerable places for cold to seep into your home. Consider adding storm windows to provide extra insulation for your home. They provide as much energy savings as replacing the entire window—12% – 33% per window—but at a fraction of the cost and time.
Blanket Your Home in Warmth. Adding insulation to your home is one of the best ways to lower your heating bills this winter. The U.S. Department of Energy provides a guide to help you determine whether your house has adequate insulation, and gives tips on installing insulation in existing homes.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone! There are many resources available to help you determine the best steps to take to winterize your home. Here are a couple resources offered by local energy providers:
Winter weather can have an especially profound effect on low-income Michigan families, many of whom already spend a disproportionately large amount of their income on home heating costs. Fortunately, there are options for low-income households.
However you choose to prepare your home for the cold months ahead, AMP wishes you a warm and cozy winter season!
Have any weatherization tips we missed? Let us know what you’re doing to prepare your home for winter here.