Don’t spend your hard-earned money on unnecessary heating costs this winter

Check out some handy tips from Solarhood to become more energy efficient and save money on your monthly energy bills.

Adjust your water heater and thermostat

Turning down your water heater and adjusting your thermostat are some easy fixes that can have big savings. Many people have their water heater set unnecessarily high. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to around 120°F to save big (and lower the risk of scalding your hands).

Also, program your thermostat to be colder at night and during the day when you’re away. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours.

Insulate your windows

A lot of precious heat can be lost through drafty windows. Consider hanging insulating curtains or shades in your windows to minimize any draft from entering your home. There’s also a range of inexpensive, plastic-film products that you can adhere over your windows in the winter months.

And if you still have single-paned windows, consider making the switch to double-paned windows. The switch could save you some big dollars in the long run.

Schedule a tune-up for your furnace

Many people don’t realize their heating system requires regular maintenance to continue to run in tip-top shape. Clean your filter on your furnace on a monthly basis and consider getting a tune-up to save up to 3 to 10 percent on your next heating bill.

Check your attic’s insulation

A lot of heat can be lost through an attic that is not properly insulated. Measure the thickness of your attic’s insulation. If there is less than 7 inches of fiberglass / rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose, you can benefit from adding more to lower your heating bills.

If you find you need more, many recommend loose-fill insulation rather than fiberglass batts even if you already have fiberglass. Loose fill is usually composed of cellulose or fiberglass and lets you get into all the nooks and crannies in your attic.

Get an energy audit

The only foolproof way to accurately find all the leaks and problem areas of your house is to have an energy audit. Audits normally take between two and three hours, and include tests such using an infrared camera to identify leaks in your home. You’ll usually get a detailed report listing what upgrades you can make and what benefits there will be.

Kansas City resident Jeremy Kroll has done a lot to make his home more energy efficient. See what he did to save money on his electricity bills (Hint: an energy audit was part of it!)