As the winter cold sets in, your heating expenses are probably rising. At this time of year, we all tend to think about energy efficiency and how to save money on home-related expenses. Here are a few ways that you can reduce your energy consumption costs.

Suzanne Plewes, RE/MAX Alliance in Loveland
Suzanne Plewes, RE/MAX Alliance in Loveland

1. Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances use the most energy in your home. If you are considering replacing systems or appliances, pay close attention to the energy rating. For major systems like heating and cooling or hot water, efficiency percentages are provided by the manufacturer. Obviously, the higher the efficiency, the better on your wallet. Rebate programs may also be available for high efficiency units. For large household appliances, like those for the kitchen and laundry, look for Energy Star ratings listed on the appliance.

2. Add Insulating Window Treatments

Windows are a common source of heat loss from your home, but replacing old leaky windows can be costly. Fortunately, there are other options that can help. 

First, plastic covering kits are available for windows and sliding doors. These simple kits seal off the opening, trapping in any cold air that seeps in. They are almost invisible when installed properly and can be removed at the end of the season.

Another option is to install insulating shades or curtains. Insulating shades are specially designed with air pockets or special materials to block cold air from entering the home through the windows. Similarly, insulating curtains are thick and heavy and meant to cover window surfaces, trapping in any cold air behind the curtain. 

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Your thermostat settings have a direct impact on your heating bill. Electronic programmable thermostats are extremely popular as a way to improve the efficiency of heating your home. You can program your thermostat for different optimal temperatures for when you are home, asleep, or at work, reducing wasted energy by keeping it cooler when no one is home or everyone is sleeping. Wi-fi enabled “smart” thermostats add an extra level of convenience by allowing you to monitor and control the settings from your phone or tablet anywhere you go.   

4. Seal Air Gaps

A simple and quick way to prevent cold air from entering your home is to find and seal off any openings. This includes caulking gaps in windows and adding seals to doors. Supplies to address these issues are inexpensive and can pay off big in energy savings.

5. Use Furnishings that Help Warm Your Home

The furnishings in your home can also help with energy efficiency. For instance, an area rug placed over hardwood flooring can help retain heat in a room. Cloth upholstery, instead of leather, is also helpful in making you feel warmer. For bedding, select materials (such as flannel) that retain heat and feel warm to the touch. When you add elements that feel warmer, you require less heat to keep your body warm. Even reducing your thermostat by a few degrees can reduce your home heating expenses.

By Suzanne Plewes. Suzanne is a broker associate at RE/MAX Alliance. Write to 750 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland, CO 80537, call 970.290.0373 or e-mail suzanneplewes@remax.net.