Avoid High Energy Bills With 6 Tips For Winter

Check out these 6 tips for winterizing your home and save money on your energy bills! It’s easy. Learn more from regular contributor, Megan Wild.

 

How to Avoid High Winter Energy Bills

With These 6 Easy Tips!

With Christmas approaching quickly, the last thing you want to deal with is high energy bills just to keep your home warm and festive for the holidays. How can you put a price on Christmas spirit through decorations, trees, and lights? It may feel priceless to you, but the power company will be cashing in on those holiday memories by charging for every kilowatt hour.

Don’t be a Grinch and take away all things Christmas — instead, look for clever ways to save money on your bill this winter.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t have one already, invest in a programmable thermostat for your home and make sure you actually use it. Turn the heat down a bit when no one is home and set the thermostat to come on about an hour before you arrive so the home is warm and inviting when you walk in.

Additionally, consider turning the temperature down two to three degrees and wear comfortable lounge pants and long-sleeved shirts in the house to stay warmer. Research shows that you could save as much as ten dollars per degree on your energy bill each month.

Seal Any Leaks

The windows and doors of your home may be costing you additional heating expenses each month. You don’t want to pay to heat up the outside of your home, so why are you letting heat escape? What’s even worse is that, while you’re paying for the heat to leave your home, you’re also allowing cold air to enter, which creates a higher daily need for electricity.

The best thing you can do to reduce this problem is to seal up your windows and doors to prevent cold air from entering and hot air from escaping. To seal window and door leaks, you can use caulk and weather stripping in most cases. If the sealing materials don’t make much of a difference, it may be time to look into double-paned windows, which are more energy-efficient and less drafty.

Another tip that’s often overlooked when it comes to your doors and windows letting cold air in is something that won’t cost you any money and very little time. Lock them up! When you lock your windows and doors, they close more tightly than when they’re unlocked. The tighter closure makes them push against the weather stripping harder, reducing the amount of cold air that comes in.

Invest in Routine Maintenance

Be sure that you’re getting your heating system serviced each year. A professional can come out and inspect your system and do any servicing it needs to keep it running efficiently all winter long.

Taking the time to do this each year not only reduces your heating bill because the heating system is more efficient, but it also may help you find heating repair needs before you end up without heat when there’s a foot of snow on the ground. Just think of routine maintenance as a little insurance policy for a cozy winter at home.

Be Aware of the Fireplace

Your fireplace isn’t just an entry point for Santa this holiday season — it could also be letting in cold air and increasing your heating bill. Unless you have a fire burning, be sure to close the damper in your fireplace to prevent cold air from coming in full-force.

When you have your heating system serviced each year, go ahead and call in a professional to inspect your fireplace and clean and seal it if necessary. The professional will know which areas cause the most drafts and how to seal them without endangering your family.

Modernize Your Christmas Lights

You may think you save a little money by using the same lights each year and just replacing a bulb here and there, but are you really? If you’re using standard Christmas lights that have been around for decades, you could be using more power than you actually need to make your home look beautiful.

Throw those lights out and invest in some LED holiday lights that are Energy Star qualified to reduce your power consumption. Energy Star-Certified lights use 75% less energy than your traditional incandescent lights, are cool to the touch and are known to last as much as 10 times longer than traditional lights.

These lights are more expensive, but the investment will pay off when you look at your power bill in January.

Use Your Ceiling Fans

You may think that your ceiling fan is just something handy to have in the summer to keep air moving in your home, but that’s not entirely true. In the winter months, you should flip the switch on your ceiling fan to have the blades turn clockwise. The blades will produce an updraft, forcing the warmer air at the ceiling down below, making the room feel warmer.

These are just a few ways to save on your energy bills. Instead of robbing your family of those magical Christmas memories of twinkling lights and fun decorations, take a little time to put these tips into action. With the reduced costs, your wallet may just grow three sizes this month!

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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Renewable Energy – Make The Switch Over Winter

Interested in switching to renewable energy? Learn more about the different types, and if they will work for you. Find out how to make the switch, get tips from Megan.

How to Make the Switch to Renewable Energy

Over the Winter and Save

 

If you’re like many homeowners out there, you know the importance of transitioning your household to renewable energy, but you’re really not sure where to begin. All the information out there can is a little overwhelming. What kind of system should you change to?

Do you want wind power? Solar Power? Would they even work in your area? How much will the installation cost? With all these questions running through your head, it’s understandable that you wonder if renewable energy is even worth the time and effort.

You’ll be relieved to find out that transitioning to renewable energy really isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. All it takes is a few small changes within your home, and you’ll be on the way to reducing your carbon footprint — and simultaneously saving some dollars in the process.

Here are some small and large changes you can undertake to get your household on track to 100% clean energy.

Easy Changes

Not all improvements for your home have to be major changes. Some of the quickest and most efficient ways to save on your energy bill are done with the simplest of transitions.

 

  1. Switch the Light Bulbs

One of the easiest things you can do to cutting down on energy costs and make your house more energy efficient is switching out traditional light bulbs for energy-saving ones. These could be LED lights, CFLs or halogen incandescent lighting, which last years longer than traditional light bulbs, saving you money.

If you’re unsure of what type of light bulb you should look for, make sure that it has the ENERGY STAR label given by the EPA.

  1. Inspect Your Home

Whether you have a newer or older home, an easy way to reduce energy waste during the winter months is to check the caulking on all your windows, doors and weather stripping and look for any weak spots and air leaks. It’s an easy fix that has a big impact on how hard your heating system runs during the winter. Besides, who wouldn’t want to eliminate those chilly drafts? Cozy is so much better for you and the environment.

  1. Track Your Carbon Footprint

Tracking your carbon footprint is a great way to get the whole family involved in making smarter choices about energy use. The EPA has even made it super simple by developing a calculator specifically for the home. Knowing your current CO2 emissions level is exactly what you need to begin making changes, which could be as simple as having a family checklist for turning off devices at night or committing to using less electricity.

Ambitious Changes

By slightly more ambitious, this means that you will want to look at some changes that might require a bit of a larger investment or implementation, but will still ultimately save your household money and be eco-friendly.

  1. Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances

Heating your home during the cold winter months can have a huge impact on your energy bill — and ultimately your bank account. Use the same ENERGY STAR method to find heating and cooling systems, washer/dryers and even dishwashers that are more energy efficient. This will be the most effective in driving down the cost of your monthly energy bill.

However, if replacing all of those units at once isn’t in the cards, you can also take simple steps to maintain your existing units by investing in a programmable thermostat, changing out air filters regularly or just having an expert out for regular maintenance.

  1. Switching to Battery Power

One of the great innovations from Tesla is a home battery, which you can power your home from to be more energy efficient. It sounds a bit too good to be true, but it’s actually rather easy to install and can help your home become almost 100% energy efficient. The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable battery that can take itself off the power grid periodically to save on energy costs and also cut down on your household energy use. The newest model can run a two-bedroom household for an entire day.

Large-Scale Changes

Even though these choices are the most ambitious of the lot, doesn’t mean they’re extremely difficult. Switching completely to clean energy will just be a larger investment than the previous options, but will have a huge payoff for your pocket and the planet.

Invest in Solar Power

Solar energy is one of the easiest ways to convert your home to 100% clean energy. Installing a full solar panel system can even transition how your heating and cooling system run. In fact, if you invest in solar energy, you can receive a 30% tax deduction from the government. You can even couple your efforts together with the Tesla Powerwall. The battery will store the energy taken from the solar panels, and use it when on days when energy production is lower.

Harness the Wind

Energy generated from the wind doesn’t always have to come from the huge wind farms you see across the US. There are also at-home options for you to incorporate into your household. Wind power is actually more stable than solar power, so if reliability is one of your concerns, wind energy might be a better choice.

Whatever additions or changes you decide to make to make your home more eco-friendly, it’s important that you try. Not only is it beneficial to your monthly budget, but you‘ll also do your part to help reduce CO2 emissions across the country, which is a very achievable goal. Everyone just needs to do their part.

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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Pamper Yourself & Save With Great Deals

This post, Pamper Yourself & Save, is sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are mine.

Pamper Yourself & Save

With Great Deals from Groupon

 

A few months ago, I told you of how I finally discovered the amazing savings with Groupon, and how It Feels Good To Save. I have put my Sam’s Club membership to good use, and I’ve also started exploring other facets of the Groupon site.


 

I know you’ve heard about the savings on club store memberships, travel, and such. But, did you know you can also find great deals on Health, Beauty & Wellness Groupons? I had no idea you could save on things like haircuts, manicures and pedicures, and hair removal.
 


 

Plus, you can take care of your body with massages, eye care, and dental whitening. Not to mention, the hot yoga, spin classes, and indoor rock climbing. The list just goes on and on.
 


 

I just celebrated my birthday, and I received a day of pampering as a gift. It’s going to be fun to go have a special day with Rory, and make the most of it with Groupon. We finding out how much we can save on everything!
 


 

Explore Groupon for all your savings. The possibilities are endless. You can also follow Groupon on Facebook and Twitter.
 

How would you pamper yourself or a loved one with Groupon?

 

 

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8 Easy Ways To Green Your Pool And Save Money

8 Easy Ways to Green Your Pool and Save Energy

Memorial Day is upon us, and you know what that means! It’s time for the pool to open! If you’re anything like me, you probably look forward to hosting parties and hanging out with family by the pool. However, pool ownership can also be pretty expensive in terms of upkeep and energy usage. If you’re looking to save money, give back to Mother Nature, or reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals this Summer, then it’s the perfect time to look into greening your pool.

Not sure where to start? Check out these 8 tips:

1. Reduce chlorine
Think chlorine is the only way to keep your pool clean? Think again!

Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate chlorine, you can drastically reduce your usage by installing a salt water and UV filtration system. As the salt travels through the system it is broken down to produce chlorine (bye-bye manufactured tablets!) and the UV filtration fights algae and bacteria.

2. Go solar
Going green doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy heated water.

If you want to heat your pool, rely on solar power to get it up to temperature. Installing solar collectors can reduce the amount of energy, such as gas or electric, used by up to 60 percent per year. You can install a solar heating system complete with panels, or use a solar cover for your pool.

3. Cover it up
In fact, simply covering your pool will go a long way towards making it greener. A pool enclosure reduces evaporation, cuts down on the amount of chemicals you need by keeping out debris, and can keep your pool up to 10 degrees warmer without a heating system.

4. Bring on the rain
Stop wasting water (and money) by using rainwater to top off your pool. Whether you use a tank or a diverter system is up to you, just make sure to think about how to handle overflow and filter out debris.

5. Double-duty landscaping
With the proper planning, you can improve your landscape AND block wind from your pool. Using shrubs or planters to block the wind naturally helps reduce evaporation and heat loss. Just be sure to calculate how far back to plant so fewer leaves migrate into the pool.

Don’t forget that certain plants attract pests while others can deter them. With a little extra planning you can have a bee-free pool in addition to natural shade, privacy, and wind shield.

6. Make an upgrade
You know that upgrading to a new fridge or washer can help improve energy efficiency. The same theory goes for pool pumps. If your pump is old, consider upgrading to a more energy efficient model (or even a solar model). For bonus savings, add a timer so you have better control over when the pump is in use.

7. Invest in manual labor
A pool skimmer will only set you back a handful of bucks and a little personal labor. In return, you won’t have to work your pump or filtration system as hard, saving energy.

8. Build naturally
Want to go green from the ground up? Try mimicking nature by building a pool that uses plants for filtration and is made of clay and gravel. This kind of natural pool takes a bit more know-how to keep clean, but it is cheaper in the long run and much more eco-friendly.

Hopefully these ideas will give you a starting point for making your pool more of a joy to own and less of a burden. I give you full permission to break out the swim suit and pool inflatables in preparation for this weekend! How will you be spending your Memorial Day?
~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

 

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It Feels Good To Save

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

 

It Feels Good To Save

Groupon Coupons

 

Do you like to save money? I do too. That’s why I am so glad I finally took the time. I know, I’m coming late to this bandwagon. I have heard people talk of Groupon Coupons and the great offers they have received for years. I just always thought it was too much time and trouble. Boy, was I wrong!

I was in need of a Sam’s Club membership, and I found a fantastic offer on Groupon that saved me a bundle. Not only did I receive a highly discounted price for the membership, I also received certain items free or at a very low cost. And BONUS, since it was my first Groupon, I got an additional $10 off as a welcome gift. That membership ended up costing me about $15 for the entire year of savings on Jinx’s and Josie’s kitty litter, gasoline, and much more. Now that’s fantastic.

 

Groupon is FREE. You just sign-up, and start saving.

 

Rory just used Groupon to purchase a ticket for the Catalina Flyer for a day trip with her friends. They were headed out to Catalina Island. Unfortunately, we had a storm come in the day they were to go. Gale force winds when you are on a boat in the ocean, are not a good thing. The trip was cancelled. Not to worry, the Groupon ticket is valid for six months. They are rescheduling their fun-filled ocean and island adventure. Don’t live near Catalina Island? That’s okay, you can get great deals with Travelocity through Groupon too.

You can save on almost anything with Groupon Coupons. Give it a shot, we’ve been super happy with our purchases; and more over, our savings. It feels good to save!

 

Let me know what great deals you find…

 

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