By Fredrica Syren:
No doubt about it, the cooler season is here even in San Diego where I live. Lately our house has been much cooler, so in the morning we’ve had to turn on the heat. It’s time to prepare our homes for the season, particularly for those who live in areas where frigid winters are common. However, keeping home and family warm this winter could be expensive and not very environmental friendly.
The best way to save money this winter is to constantly monitor the levels of your home’s monthly energy consumption. Most of us depend on electronics to make our days easier, but unfortunately all of these contribute to our carbon footprint and are the biggest drains on our wallet. There are options for more eco-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives. The bottom line is that the less energy we use in our homes, the less we will have to pay; and ultimately, by doing so we will do our part to save the environment.
Here are a few tips on how to save money and the planet but still stay warm:
· Check for any cracks or gaps where warm air can escape. Be sure to check gutters, windows, doors and vents in particular.
· Place weather stripping or apply caulk to seal any leaks around windows, doors or other entryways into your home.
· Insulate all exposed pipes.
· Perform regular maintenance. If you have a forced air furnace, make sure to clean or change the furnace filter about once a month. Most furnaces will need to be professionally cleaned and tuned once a year.
· Insulate your home. The best way to save energy quickly is to install good insulation. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulating attics to R-49. Visit www.energy.gov to learn more about these ratings.
· Install an eco-friendly furnace filter to keep your air clean, and be sure that your furnace is in complete working order/have it serviced before the coldest months hit.
· Try to keep your thermostat at 68°F.