Winter may usher in the holidays and beautiful, snowy scenery, but it also brings soaring energy costs. As the mercury sinks like a stone, it becomes more and more difficult to keep your home comfortably warm. It’s tempting to reach for the thermostat and crank it up, but first, you may want to consider a few more environmentally friendly tips. When the winter weather gets you down, turn to the following options to keep yourself warm without racking up huge heating bills.
Install a Greenwood Boiler
Oil, natural gas and electricity may be popular heating options, but they aren’t the only game in town. A wood-fired boiler is a fantastic renewable heating alternative, and Greenwood’s central heating systems are specifically designed to maximize efficiency. The Frontier Series boiler uses wood gasification technology to burn wood with startling efficiency, resulting in virtually no smoke, ash or creosote. By converting nearly 90 percent of the wood’s energy into heat, the Frontier wood boiler may reduce home heating bills by up to 70 percent. A pellet boiler, meanwhile, offers fully automated burning of wood pellets or in some models agro-pellets and grains for unparalleled convenience. Their high-efficiency operation can cut your heating bills in half when connected to a radiant or forced-air heating system.
Use a Smart Thermostat
Perhaps the easiest way to save on heating costs is to use only as much heating energy as you need. While it’s possible to do this on your own, a smart thermostat makes the job far easier and more efficient. In fact, according to a 2016 study, thermostats are the most popular smart technology product to be installed renovating homeowners. Once this device is synced up to your wi-fi router, you will have remote access from a computer or app. This way, you can be away from home and still have the ability to specify exactly what temperature settings you’d like to use at any given time for up to seven days in advance. As the thermostat uses its “smart” software to learn your energy usage habits, it will automatically turn on and off based on your schedule. This allows you to cut down on wasteful heating when no one is home without sacrificing your personal comfort, resulting in up to 12 percent savings on your monthly heating costs.
Enhance Your Insulation
It’s unfortunate that even the most effective and efficient heating won’t do much good in a poorly insulated home. A tremendous amount of heat is lost through walls, roofs and floors that aren’t properly insulated, which means outfitting your home with new insulation may lead to some serious savings. In fact, the EPA estimates that insulating the typical home could give back as much as a 20 percent savings on total heating and cooling costs. While completely insulating a home may seem like a significant investment, the cost is generally recouped via energy savings in as little as five years.
Spring for Energy-Efficient Windows
Along with inadequately insulated walls and roofs, another major point of heat loss is outdated or inefficient windows. Up to a quarter of a home’s heat loss comes from the windows, but upgrading to newer energy-efficient windows can keep far more of that precious heat where it belongs – inside your home. If you suspect your windows may be a culprit behind your home’s excessive energy use, look for new windows that bear the EPA’s ENERGY STAR label. This certifies that the windows are specially constructed to resist heat transfer and are ready to save you 12 percent or more on your energy costs.
Get an Energy Audit
Do you know how much energy your home actually uses and where that energy goes? Few people do, which is why a home energy audit is a highly recommended step in cutting down on energy use. An energy audit conducted by a professional will help you analyze precisely how much energy your home uses, while also identifying air leaks and other inefficiencies that could be costing you money. Many utility companies offer free or discounted energy audits to their customers, and any associated costs are well worth gaining the knowledge needed to maximize your home’s efficiency.
With rising energy costs and mounting environmental concerns, it’s no surprise that nearly everyone is on the lookout for new ways to reduce their energy use. The bitter chill of winter only makes this process more difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to improve the efficiency of your home and identify potential areas of concern. Follow the simple tips above and you can stay toasty warm all winter long without dreading opening that next utility bill.
Special thanks to Kate Voss for this blog post. Based in the Windy City and fueled by coffee and chocolate, Kate’s an MSU alumni with a passion for recycling and refurbishing old furniture. Her favorite Girl Scout Cookie is the trefoil.