Live Smart: Stay Warm & Save Energy
Smart thermostats maximize efficiency and lower costs, saving energy and money over time. Read on for more ways to live smart and save while keeping warm when the temperature drops.
Back to Basics
Begin with the basics by dressing warmly when the weather cools down so your heating system expends less energy. And, simply letting the sun into your home by opening blinds and drapes during the daylight hours can save you anywhere from 2 to 12 percent by heating your home with natural light, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.
For those with a fireplace, the Department of Energy recommends keeping the damper closed when you don’t have a fire burning, and ensuring that the flue damper seal is snug. You can plug and seal the chimney flue if you don’t plan to use your fireplace. But if you do prefer a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night, you can install a heat-air exchange system that returns warm air into the room instead of letting it escape into the great outdoors. Tempered glass doors and caulking around the hearth also help to reduce loss of heat.
If your HVAC system is outdated, it might be time to consider upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model that will save you money in the long run (hint: look for the Energy Star label when choosing a new system). Ensuring that windows and doors are properly sealed can also make a big difference. After all, nobody wants to pay to heat the outdoors. The better insulated your home, the more energy-efficient it will be.
According to professional energy analyst Matthias Alleckna, smart thermostats can save you anywhere from 10 to 25 percent on overall heating and cooling costs just by providing you with more precise control over the temperature of your home. Smart thermostats allow you to set schedules and adjust the temperature from wherever you are through an app on your smartphone. They also adapt to your schedule and temperature preferences, and you can place connected sensors throughout your home to monitor when a room is not in use. That way, you avoid unnecessarily heating or cooling unoccupied spaces.
The Ecobee 5 Pro Thermostat with Voice Control offers the added convenience of voice control with built-in Alexa, so you can simply tell it to change the temperature. The Ecobee 5 Pro saves customers 23% annually on average and automatically adjusts the temperature to maximize savings when you’re away. Like the Ecobee 5 Pro, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat learns your schedule over time and automatically makes adjustments to the temperature to increase efficiency.
According to the Energy Star website, “If everyone used an Energy Star-certified smart thermostat, we would save 56 trillion BTUs of energy—saving $740 million each year—and offset 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year, equivalent to the emissions of 1.2 million vehicles.” So whether you are in the market for a thermostat, a heater, or anything else electronic, for that matter, be sure to look for the Energy Star label.