There are a lot of things you can do to make your home more energy efficient–having plenty of insulation, weatherstripping, installing energy efficient appliances, etc. All of these things can make you more comfortable in your home and save money on electricity and gas bills. But did you realize that certain home improvements are tax deductible if they are designed to improve energy efficiency?
Here is a great article that gives an overview of what is tax deductible:
The best way to keep your house toasty in the winter is to make sure that your weatherstripping for your doors and windows are in good shape, and your heating unit is in good working order. But sometimes, that’s not enough. Here are some easy tips for staying warm this winter:
Before you reach for the thermostat, reach for a sweater instead! Or what about that Snuggie your great-aunt gave you last Christmas? Adding clothing indoors is the easiest (and cheapest!) way to feel cozy. Don’t forget about a good pair of house shoes, too! Your energy bills will thank you.
Close off the vents in unused rooms and shut the door. No need to be heating the guest bedroom or game room when they’re not in use.
On sunny days, open up the curtains on the windows that receive direct sunlight. Just remember to close them again when the sun goes down to hold the heat in.
Reverse your ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise. There’s usually a switch on the fan that will reverse the motor. Since warm air rises, this will help push the warm air at the ceiling back down into the living space.
Switch your regular bed sheets with flannel or jersey knit sheets. These are warmer to the touch, so your bed won’t feel chilly when you get in. Speaking of which, remember in old cartoons, they would show people sleeping in night caps like this?:
It’s actually a really good idea! OK, maybe not an actual old-timey night cap, but a stocking hat works great!
Area rugs are your friend when it comes to keeping your house warm. The more surface area you can cover on your floor, the better insulated it is.
And lastly, if possible, move your furniture toward the middle of the room and away from windows.
If all else fails, just remember those blistering days of summer and know they’ll be back again before you know it!
With summer coming to an end (I know; it’s still hot outside but bear with me), now is a perfect time to get your home ready for the coming months.
Technology was caught up with heating and cooling thermostats. With more and more internet based devices coming out, tech savy people can utilize this technology to save money. Since the heating and cooling of a home makes up the majority of the utilitiy costs, it makes sense to keep a tight rein on how long and often it cycles off and on.
The thermostat has evolved somewhat over the years from simple manual controlled units with a mercury switch to programmable ones that gave people the ability to have their air conditioning or furnace temperatures set back during the night or at work to the newest version that can be controlled through the internet. Programmable thermostats may not benefit everyone, for example if someone is at home all day it may not make sense to have automatic set back feature. But depending on the lifestyle of the household, having greater control may prove to provide significant savings.
One problem with standard programmable thermostats is that your household may have an unpredictable schedule with people coming and going and leaves programming the thermostat usless. The new internet controlled thermostats, or “smart thermostats” are controlled through a wireless gateway connected to the home’s internet connection and transmits signals to the wall mounted thermostat to lower and raise temperatures and even switch between heating and cooling modes. This allows you to remotely control the thermostat through any internet connection from anywhere, even with internet enabled phones and PDAs. Most of these have the ability to control up to four different thermostats so if you lived in a two story home for instance, you could turn on the air conditioning to your upstairs office before you get there and leave the downstairs set back.
Not all electric providers have the service, but may in the future. TXU is offering these at a low price if you join their energy conservation program. For more information, you can visit their website at: https://www.txupartners.com/thermostat/programdetails/index.php