Budget-minded homeowners shouldn’t have to give up comfort to reduce high energy bills. Even during peak seasons such as summer and winter, small changes can make a big difference on your household budget. By paying attention to a few unexpected areas in your home, you may dramatically reduce your bills and are a big part of living an eco-friendly lifestyle. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to practice global responsibility with the following four surprising ways to reduce your heating and cooling expenses.
Landscape for Comfort and Savings
Your landscaping can help keep your home comfortable throughout the year. During the summer, the sun is one of a homeowner’s biggest adversary.
A green strategy to combat these stressors on your cooling budget is to install a trellis with a climbing vine that will shade your home while allowing good air flow. Dense evergreen trees or shrubs provide continuous shade and help to block chilly winter winds. Remember to plant your new trees away from the house so that as they grow and mature, their roots and limbs won’t damage your dwelling.
Take Your Dinner Party Outside
Who wants to heat up the kitchen during the summer with an oven heating at 450 degrees Fahrenheit? When preheating sends your air conditioning unit into overdrive, turn to an alternative means of cooking.
Take your dinner outside and grill out. String some white LED mini-lights and host a picnic in the yard. Try using the microwave or a toaster oven rather than your oven. Save the increase in room temperature for Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll use less energy and avoid competing with your home’s air conditioner.
Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction During the Winter
Each direction that ceiling fan turns has a purpose, and by running your ceiling fans during the winter, you can enjoy large savings on oversized heating bills.
When your fan turns clockwise, the blades drive the warm air that collects near the ceiling down into the room. In the summer, reverse the direction so that the fan rotates in a counterclockwise direction for a cool breeze. Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat accordingly when using your ceiling fans and turn them off when you leave the room.
Place Balloons in Your Chimney?
Who doesn’t love a cozy fire on a chilly evening, but is that luxury costing you more than the wood? One downside to a fireplace is that the chimney is the perfect escape path for your warm air — even when the flue is closed. A surprising and inexpensive solution to this heating and air conditioning loss is an inflatable chimney balloon. The balloon stops air from floating up your chimney, and for less than $20, it’s a worthwhile investment. For safety’s sake, if you forget about the balloon and try to start a fire, the balloon automatically deflates.
Practice a few of the above unusual ways to reduce your heating and cooling expenses and you’ll enjoy benefits for both your family’s budget and the environment.