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Save money and stay warm with these winter energy efficiency tips

Have you started paying closer attention to your thermostat lately? Winter is coming soon and here in the DC Metro region, we’re readying ourselves for the cold blasts to come. While we can’t control the weather, we can certainly control the comfort in our homes. You can save money and stay warm with these winter energy efficiency tips.

Have your HVAC inspected. This step presents a great start to a safer, more energy efficient home this winter. Have a professional come in to clean and inspect your heating system. You might also prevent heating problems from arising in the dead of winter (which saves you from paying for an emergency service call).

Plug the drafts. Up to 30% of your heat sneaks out through drafty spaces in your home—around exterior doors and windows as well as wall outlets. Check the seals around those spaces. Repair or replace any damaged caulking. If your home doesn’t have energy-efficient windows, consider replacing them. The savings in heating costs will help pay for the investment.

Get smart with your thermostat. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save up to 10% a year on your heating and cooling costs by lowering your home’s temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day. Managing your home’s interior temperature can require a lot of adjusting in the winter months. Drop the temperature at night, bump it up during the day. Don’t be a slave to your thermostat. Install a smart thermostat that you can set to specific temperatures and specific times. You can also manage the thermostat from your smartphone.

Lower the temperature a little. Many people keep their thermostats set higher than necessary. You might not notice the difference when lowering it a degree or two in the winter, but you’ll see the difference in your heating bill!

Change the direction of your ceiling fan’s blades. In the hot weather, the ceiling fan keeps a breeze circulating. But remember that hot air rises. You need to control it by reversing the blades to move in a clockwise direction, which pushes that hot air back down where you need it.

Close the damper. Your fireplace damper must stay open when you have a fire going to let the smoke and fumes out. When you’re not using the fireplace, this damper lets the cold air in. Be sure to close the damper when the fireplace isn’t in use.

Unblock the air vents. Make sure the air vents throughout your home are unobstructed. Anything blocking a vent—like furniture or an appliance—makes the heating system work harder, which uses more energy.

Switch to LED light bulbs. Shorter days mean you’ll be relying more on light fixtures. Make sure you maximize the energy efficiency by swapping out incandescent bulbs for LED light bulbs, which last far longer and use less electricity.

Welcome the natural warmth. The rays of the sun provide a wonderful source of heat in the winter. Open up the curtains and let it shine in. Conversely, close the blinds and drapes when the sun goes down.

Reuse the oven’s warmth. You’re paying to heat up the oven so get more from it. When you’re finished using the oven, open the door slightly to take advantage of the warmth that is still circulating inside.

Close off unused rooms. Do you have spaces that aren’t used much, like a guest room? By keeping the door open, you’re paying to heat the area. You can save money on your heating costs by keeping the door closed to any spaces that don’t require heat.

Keep the garage door closed. This seems like a simple step but it can be easily overlooked. When you welcome cold air into your garage, it’s just a few feet away from slipping into your home.

Choose an energy efficient home. Is your home ready to keep you cozy, comfortable, and happy this winter? New homes are engineered with the latest advances in energy efficiency. If your current home isn’t providing you with the lifestyle you want, it’s time to think about making a move for the better. 

Kettler Forlines Homes builds distinctive homes at The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing in Poolesville, MD, and can also build on your land in the DC Metro region. We’ve been recognized as just one of just 10 builders in the country to earn the EPA’s prestigious Indoor airPLUS Leader Award and one of a very few in the region to be certified as an ENERGY-STAR-certified builder. Contact George Neill at Kettler Forlines Homes to explore the possibilities!