(ANGIE'S LIST) - Energy experts say warmer temperatures and lower fuel prices should cut down heating costs this winter, but they still warn against cranking up the heat. Every home has energy hogs that eat up more than their fair share of household power. Angie's List has some tips to stay warm and save even more money as the temperatures drop.
12 Energy Hogs "Quick Tips:
- Most American homeowners will spend more than $2000 to heat their homes this winter. The fastest way to cut this cost is to go for savings in your No. 1 energy user – your HVAC system. Even small savings here will add up fast.
- You can save as much as 10 percent a month on your heating bill by setting your thermostat at 65 degrees for at least eight hours/day. If this idea gives you chills, lower the heat when you’re gone to work -- or sleeping – so you don’t have to suffer.
- Lots of us have programmable thermostats to make this tip super easy, but 40 percent of us don’t actually know how – or just don’t – use the smart device. Learn how to use it and put it to work for you!
- Another easy way to save is to switch out your furnace filters so they’re allowing good air flow. That helps your furnace work more efficiently. Dirty air filters lead to trouble with the whole system. Can’t remember to do this chore? Tie it to when you pay your heat bill.
- Another cost-free energy saver is to keep your major appliances in good shape. They’re the No. 2 energy user in your home. So get your vacuum attachment out and clean your refrigerator coils.
- Everyone knows to seal up drafts around your windows and doors– but don’t stop there. Check the seals on the doors to your stove, deep freeze and refrigerator. Those large appliances use up a lot of energy, so keep them sealed up as tight as your house.
- Slow cookers and microwaves can be your best friend in the winter. Not only will they speed up dinner, if you can reduce heating up your oven or range, you’ll save a lot.
- Microwaves use about half the energy of ranges and ovens, and dinner in a slow cooker can cost only 17-cents of electricity.
- You want to save but you don’t want to sacrifice? Here’s the best tip for you. Go find your water heater and turn the base temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t even notice the drop when you get in the shower, but you will in your bill. The water heater is your third-biggest energy user.
- The biggest cost in the laundry room is the energy needed to heat your water, but both machines are appliances, so they account for a big chunk of your bill. Wash in cold water and keep the dryer lint screen and vents clean so it operates at top efficiency.
- The right type and amount of insulation is a huge step forward in energy savings, but more than half of homes in the U.S. are not properly insulated. Climate determines both type and amount, and getting the right stuff in the right places isn’t as easy as it looks.
- If you feel like you’ve done as much as you can and your energy bill is still too high, reach out to your utility company to see if they offer a free energy audit or hire one yourself. They may find savings you missed.