As winter approaches, Think Energy’s customers in Maine have a lot to do in preparation for the cold weather. The state has been hit by its fair share of extreme winter storms, most notably the North American Ice Storm of 1998, which left about 700,000 residents without power. Although most winters in the state are rarely so harsh, Maine residents can experience up to 60 days of subzero temperatures each year. In some parts of the state, average annual snowfall can reach 110 inches. So what can you do to prepare your home for this kind of weather? And what are some effective ways to save on heating costs throughout the season? If you live in Maine (or any other state with harsh winter weather), continue reading for helpful winter energy-saving tips.
Start With the Windows
Many people struggle to save money on heating during the coldest months of the year. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cut your electricity consumption without sacrificing comfort. One of the simplest ways to keep your home warm without using more electricity is to take advantage of natural light. Opening your curtains during the day to let in sunlight is an easy way to boost the temperature of your home. However, windows often allow cold air to seep into your home, causing a draft. To prevent this, you can do a few different things to winterize windows.
Sealing windows for winter can be easy with the right materials. Installing storm windows can increase your home’s energy efficiency by 45 percent. However, there are other, less costly measures you can take to seal your windows. One of the easiest ways to prevent window air leaks is to hang insulating drapes. You can also purchase window insulation plastic, a virtually invisible material that helps keep cold air from seeping through the cracks. While not as subtle, Bubble Wrap can be used for the same effect. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that applying Bubble Wrap to your windows can reduce your home energy usage by up to 30 percent. For a more permanent solution to window drafts, you can use caulking and weatherstripping to seal gaps between walls and window frames.
Energy Tips for Winter
Even if you’ve sealed all the air leaks in your home, you may still want to know how to reduce electricity bills even further. The most obvious solution is to keep your thermostat at a low temperature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dialing back your winter thermostat setting 7°-10°F for eight hours a day can save up to 10 percent on your heating costs. Recommended thermostat settings are usually around 68°F, but when you are asleep or away from home, you can set your thermostat at a much lower temperature. Installing a smart thermostat can give you greater control over your energy consumption and help you determine the best temperature for your heater in the winter.
If you only need to heat a small area of your home, a space heater can help you to stay comfortable without using very much electricity. While space heaters used to consume large amounts of electricity, energy-efficient heaters are now widely available. A quick online search will yield a large selection of affordable energy-saving heaters.
Other Tips for Winterizing a House
Winterizing your home doesn’t have to stop there. You can find even more winter home energy-saving tips at Energy.gov, a site by the U.S. Department of Energy that teaches consumers about energy saving and renewable energy technology. Maine residents can also find helpful tips online at Maine.gov, which provides numerous resources to help you winterize your home. If you live in a cold state like Maine, now is a great time to start preparing your home for winter. With some planning and a little effort, you’ll be able to stay warm all winter while limiting your energy consumption and reducing the cost of your electricity bills.