Ready to make some positive changes in the coming new year? Save some energy—and maybe even a little cash—with tech savvy tips and cool techniques for keeping tabs on your winter utilities.
Did you know that your thermostat controls about half of your energy bill? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save a bundle—up to 10%—by simply turning down your thermostat for eight hours a day. And with a programmable thermostat, you don't have to think about it twice. Your best bet is to keep the temperature low at night and when you're away from home. Just program your temperature settings according to the time of day, and let the savings roll in.
Want to simplify your savings even more? How about a thermostat that programs itself? Nest is new kind of thermostat that adapts to your routine based on the temperature changes you make. Because it learns and adapts automatically for maximum efficiency, you can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling bill. Plus, connect your Nest to a Wi-Fi network to track and control temperatures from your tablet or smartphone, even when you're away from home.
While the fireplace may be the warmest spot in the house when in use, the warm air inside your home can escape right through the chimney, even when the flue is closed. Chimney balloons are one way to help block the airflow and keep the cozy air inside where it belongs. (And if you accidentally forget to remove it before starting a fire, the balloon automatically deflates.) While they cost about $50, they can save you up to $100 a year.
If you're ready to really put the hammer down on your electricity usage, you may want to consider purchasing an eMonitor. Running at a few hundred dollars based on the size of your home, eMonitors allow you to monitor the energy use of every circuit in your home, so you can see where energy is being used, wasted, and if you happen to have solar panels, sourced. With a web interface that lets you view usage, analysis, and tailored recommendations, it's a great solution for those looking for a complete energy overhaul—and can save you 10-30% off your electric bill in the long run.