Energy efficiency is something all homeowners should be thinking about, especially heading into winter months. Don’t wait until you receive your heating bill to wonder how you can lower it. Instead, consider implementing energy-efficient changes to your home that will pay off once the colder weather hits.
There are several things you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency this winter. Here are some suggestions:
1. Replace older windows. Old windows can be drafty, allowing cold air into your home and letting heat escape. If you feel any cold air while sitting by your windows, you should consider replacing them. New, double-pane windows help prevent drafts and can significantly reduce your energy bills. Massachusetts residents may even be able to obtain interest-free financing for qualified replacement windows through the Mass Save® HEAT Loan program.
2. Seal and insulate. Another way heat can escape your home is through small cracks and leaks in walls, doors, and duct work. Sealing these leaks and adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces, can help prevent drafts and significantly lower your energy bills. There are no-interest loans available in both MA and RI for qualified home insulation and air sealing improvements, and both Mass Save and RI Energy offer rebates and incentives as well.
3. Upgrade your heating system or schedule maintenance. It’s a good idea to have your home’s heating system inspected prior to the winter months. If it is no longer operating efficiently (which is common with systems that are more than 10 to 15 years old) you might consider upgrading to a newer model. A newer heating system could help you lower your energy bills for years to come. While it can be costly to replace an existing heater, a no-interest Heat Loan could potentially help make the purchase more affordable.
4. Consider switching to an electric heating system. If you currently have a natural gas or oil-powered heater, you might consider switching to an electric heat pump. Not only is a heat pump more efficient than a fuel-powered system, but it can provide air conditioning in the summer as well as heat in the winter. Plus, if you’re installing a heat pump you could be eligible for interest-free financing. RI Energy and Mass Save also offer rebates and incentives for heat pump installations.
5. Invest in a new programmable thermostat. Updating your thermostat to one that’s programmable could help you save a significant amount of energy. A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule your desired heat settings in advance. You can set a lower temperature during times you won’t be home or when you’re sleeping and you can set the temperature higher prior to you waking up or arriving home.
6. Let natural heat into your home. Consider keeping the drapes open during warm, sunny days to help increase your home’s temperature naturally. Conversely, closing your curtains on windy, frigid days, or investing in thermal drapes, can help prevent heat from escaping your home.
7. Drop the temperature of your hot water. Consider reducing the temperature of your hot water tank to 120 degrees rather than the standard 140 degrees. This temperature should still provide ample heat for showering, washing dishes, and doing laundry, while helping to reduce your energy costs.
Making energy efficiency improvements to your home can help save you money and make your life more comfortable during the winter months. If you’re interested in upgrading your heating system, replacing old windows, or adding insulation, learn more about applying for interest-free financing through BankFive’s partnerships with Mass Save and RI Energy.