5 Quick and Easy Ways to "Green" Your Home for the Winter

For many homes, utility usage is the primary culprit when it comes to increased energy bills. While going completely green is tricky, there are several simple (and completely DIY-able) ways to lower your energy consumption.
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For many homes, utility usage is the primary culprit when it comes to increased energy bills. If you're searching for a way to lower your monthly utility costs, consider sustainability. While going completely green is tricky, there are several simple (and completely DIY-able) ways to lower your energy consumption.

Photo courtesy of Danoweb Studios, Inc. in Tipp City, OH

#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are among the easiest and most cost-effective methods of reducing energy usage. Many are accessible via a smartphone, so you can set timers and schedules to ensure you're not wasting energy while you're away from home. If you're curious about a programmable thermostat, hire a home energy auditor to evaluate your needs. Based on your home's arrangement and past usage, an inspector will be able to suggest the appropriate model.

#2 Prevent Air Leaks

During winter months, faulty caulking around windows and doors can lead to a sizeable loss of warm air. By securing any cracks or holes around your windows and doorframes you can expect your monthly heating bills to drop considerably. Caulking is typically a DIY project, but you can hire a professional if you don't have the time yourself.

Photo courtesy of Johnny Taylor, Inc. in Warsaw, NC

#3 Insulate the Water Heater

Because of the location of your water heater (usually somewhere impacted by cold weather -- garages or basements), it could be working overtime to keep your water warm. To reduce the hot/cold cycles, consider the installation of an insulation kit. Similar to your home, insulating your water heater will help it hold in warmth for a longer period of time. If you would prefer a pro to tackle this job, local plumbers are available to help with the install.

#4 Install Window Treatments

Window treatments can significantly impact the energy efficiency of your home. Exposing rooms to sunlight in the daytime while utilizing plantation shutters or heavy drapes at night will dramatically cut down on heat loss. Window treatments are also an easy way of updating the look of your home without over-extending your budget.

#5 Check and Repair Roof Damage

Roof damage is a major heating and cooling headache. Contact a roofing professional to inspect your roof and repair any missing shingles, cracks or additional problems. A roof inspection will also identify any small issues before they become larger problems -- especially if you're expecting snow.

Conclusion

Adopting an attitude of sustainability concerning your home is a smart move if you're trying to cut costs (and carbon emissions). While planning your green transition, make sure to schedule the necessary home inspections. Having a professional evaluate your home will ensure that your steps toward sustainability (regardless of size of cost) are as calculated as they are practical.