Don’t get me started on Cincinnati weather. One day we wake up to snow, the next day it is 80 degrees and humid, and the day after that it is thunder storming and the temperature fluctuates every five minutes.
Living in the Midwest, we have the pleasure of experiencing all four seasons of weather – sometimes within the same week – which can make it difficult to determine how to best keep our homes warm or cool, without sending energy and electricity bills through the roof.
According to Nest, a leading provider of connected home devices,"energy bills shouldn't exceed 6% of income. But many Americans spend 20-50%" and “more than 35 million American households struggle with a high energy burden."
No matter what kind of household you live in, there are simple steps you can take to be energy efficient and weatherize your home. Here are 11 suggestions from Nest:
- Windows - Windows can get drafty, particularly older ones. Plug leaks with caulking, weather stripping, or with a shrink film storm window kit. Tight-fitting drapes or shades can also help.
- Doors - Doors are another way air sneaks in or out of the house. To stop this, install a draft seal onto the bottom of the door and make sure to always lock the door firmly to form a seal against weather stripping.
- Holes - You can find holes that let air leak in or out in near plumbing, chimneys, basements, crawl spaces, and recessed lighting. Close up these areas with sealing foam.
- Floors - Floors can be frigid. Add a rug to keep in the heat and keep toes warm.
- Furniture - Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking vents. Rearrange it if it is. While you’re at it, consider moving furniture to the center of the room where it’s typically warmer.
- Thermostat - Set your thermostat a little lower in the winter and higher in the summer. Turn off the heat or air conditioning when no one’s home. Consider using a smart thermostat like the Nest Learning Thermostat to help save energy. This smart thermostat programs itself and automatically helps save energy when you're away. You can control it using the Nest app on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Because this thermostat is able to save energy while you’re away, there are proven energy and cost savings up to $145 per year.
- Curtains - In winter when sun comes through the windows, open the drapes to warm the house. But make sure to close them again when it’s hot. In summer, close the curtains or use blackout drapes during the day to keep the house cool.
- Furnace filter - When your furnace filter gets clogged, it has to work harder and uses more energy. To avoid this, replace the furnace’s filter once a month.
- Fireplace - Make sure your fireplace damper is closed when not in use, so outside air doesn’t sneak in.
- Window air conditioning unit - In winter, remove and store window air units so cold air can’t get in. Then close the window and seal it properly.
- Hot days - On hot days, do what you can to limit energy use. Install lights that run cool, turn them off when you can, and air-dry dishes and clothing.
A few other tips for conserving energy in your home are:
- Open windows in the spring when temperatures are mild enough to cool your home without turning on the air conditioning.
- During the day when the sun is out, use windows to allow natural light into your home instead of using electricity.
- Switch on bathroom fans when taking and after a shower. They suck out humidity which will keep the house cooler. Be sure to turn them off when the humidity is gone.
- Cook outside using a grill instead of an indoor oven when possible, keeping the house cooler.
- In the winter, use an electric space heater to warm the room you’re in instead of turning up the heat in the whole home. Although you’re still using energy through the electricity, it is more efficient than turning up heat for the entire home. On the flip side, consider using a window or standing fan for the same reasons. Follow manufacturer directions for safe use.
Another way to save on your energy bills is by signing up for Cincinnati Bell Energy. When you select Cincinnati Bell Energy for your electricity or natural gas supply, you'll receive a fixed rate that is 5% less than Duke Energy's current price to compare supply rate. For even greater savings, new Cincinnati Bell Energy customers get $30 off a Nest Thermostat at any Cincinnati Bell retail store.
When it comes to using energy in your home, don’t waste money on more energy than you actually need. Consider these tips and what you can do to make your home more weatherized and energy efficient.
*Pricing and promotional offer valid as of original publish date. Pricing and promotional offers subject to change without notice.