Friday, October 30, 2009

Save Money This Winter!


October 30, 2009----Fall is officially here and winter is peeking it's ugly head around the corner. According to John Belski's count of winter weather folklore, 19 of 26 weather folklore sayings are pointing to a cold and snowy winter. Now, this is not scientifically sound evidence or proof that this winter will be cold and precipitous, but we all know that the meteorologists don't always get it right. Many times, I think it is much more reliable looking at the signs from nature. A few examples from Belski's blog are:
  1. "When spring flowers bloom again during the fall, that is a sign of a cold winter coming up. So far there has been a "second season" bloom of the crabapples, viburnum, bamboo nandina and several others. COLD"
  2. "A warm November is usually followed by a cold winter. This November the temperatures are averaging several degrees above normal and it is expected to stay mild into Thanksgiving....COLD"
  3. "Wooly worms- there are 4 sayings here. The main one concerns the brown band. Wooly worms are black on both ends and brown in the middle. The wider the brown band, the milder the winter. This year the brown band is wider than usual...MILD There have been an average number of wooly worms around....NORMAL If the all black wooly worms are extra furry, it will be a cold winter....COLD If the wooly worms are visible before the first frost, it will be a cold winter....COLD"
  4. "August fogs-the foggier the August...the snowier the winter. We had 16 days with fog in August... SNOWY"
With that chilly forecast in mind, I want to give you some tips to save money on your heating bill this winter. Make sure you stay warm, but don't spend your savings account doing so. Some money saving tips you can do by changing habits, others will need to make an initial investment, but will see the pay off in the years to come.

  • Unplug any small appliances when not in use. (i.e. coffee pot, can opener, toaster, hair dryer, phone chargers, laptop computers, etc) Combined, these can use as much power as the refrigerator.
  • Wash your clothes with cold water. As much as 90% of the energy used when washing clothes goes into heating the water for a warm or hot cycle.
  • Clean your outside dryer vent to allow the heat to escape freely. Also, clean out your lint filter after every load.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load and turn off the heated dry option. Burn some calories and hand dry or open the door and let them air dry. This saves more energy than you think!
  • Set your thermostat down 5 degrees when you are sleeping. You don't really need the entire house warm and toasty when your snoozing for almost 8 hours during the coldest part of the night. Warm up with an blanket on the bed. For every degree you turn down your thermostat, you will save up to 5% on heating costs.
  • Seal any cracks, leaks, or gaps around windows by caulking, sealing, or adding weather stripping. This can save up to 20% on home heating costs.
  • Turn off some lights. You don't need every light in the house on, just the lights for the room that you are in.
  • Set your water heater to a "normal setting" of 120 degrees. This will save you around 10% on your bills.
  • Replace furnace filters often and keep your furnace clean. The cheaper the filter, the more often you need to change it. Write it on your calendar in advance or else you will keep forgetting. This will save you up to 5%.
  • Take a shorter shower. If you cut your shower time in half, you will reduce your heating costs by about 33%.
  • Close some of your blinds, shades or curtains at night or when not at home. This creates a barrier and keeps more heat in your home.
  • If you are planning on buying a new appliance anyways, do your homework and purchase one that uses less energy. Some energy efficient washing machines use 50% less energy than those from years past.
  • Wrap your water heater with insulation. (Leave the air intake vent uncovered!) This will save you up to 10% especially if you have an older water heater.
  • Add insulation into your ceiling, attic and/or walls. Check around locally for reliable companies that are competitively priced. Ask your Realtor if they have a contact.
  • Replace old, drafty windows with some that are more energy efficient.
Many of these options are free, so why would you not want to implement them? Test it out, see how much money you save, then decide which tips you want to continue and which you are willing to spend extra energy costs on.

Check out the full list of Winter Weather Folklore on Wave3. Read More!

Melissa Simms
Realtor @ RE/MAX Associates
Louisville, Kentucky

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