With energy bills on the rise, and California still in the throes of a 3-year drought, paying extra attention to conserving water and electricity this winter can benefit the environment and your bank account. Here are 7 ways Sacramento homes can conserve this winter.
7 Tips for Sacramento Homeowners Looking to Conserve Energy & Water This Winter
#1: Seal Your Windows and Doors
Take a moment to walk the outside of your home to look for air leaks and drafts. Improperly sealed windows and doors can leak costly heat from inside your home. Pay close attention to windows, external doors, as well as your attic and basement.
#2: Use LED Holiday Lights
When you're setting up your holiday lights, opt for LED bulbs. They use 75% less energy and last about 25 times longer. While they can be more costly upfront, they can help you save money on your electricity bill and on replacement lights in the long run.
#3: Let in the Light
There's a reason your cat spends their winter months napping in sunbeams – it's warmer! Throwing open the curtains during the day can let in the light and help naturally heat your home. Just don't forget to close them again at night so you don't lose all that heat again when it's cold outside overnight.
#4: Reverse the Direction Your Fans Spin
When the weather is warm, the angled blades of a ceiling fan turn counterclockwise which moves air down, cooling your home. During winter, however, the warm air your heater creates will rise to the ceiling while cooler air sinks. By reversing the direction of your fans, you can draw that cool air upwards instead, forcing the warmer air down into your living space. This can help you heat your house more efficiently, saving on your energy bill. Most ceiling fans have a switch on them to reverse the direction.
#5: Check Your Water Heater
Water heaters are the second highest source of energy usage in your home, after heating and cooling systems. Water heaters work by heating water to a set temperature, and then maintaining it 24/7. Setting that temperature just a few degrees cooler can help you save on your bills.
#6: Prepare Pipes for Winter
While Sacramento winters are usually mild, it doesn't hurt to be aware of how to protect yourself from frozen or burst pipes in the event of a cold snap. A burst pipe can waste many gallons of water and lead to costly bills to repair water damage.
To prevent your pipes from freezing and becoming damaged in the winter, insulate pipes exposed to cool air. This can include pipes in the yard, attic, basement, or garage. This also includes pipes that come into your home from outside – use caulk or sealant to prevent cold air from getting inside.
#7: Adjust Your Lawn Watering
Your lawn needs an average of one inch of water each week. Sacramento County allows residents to water their lawns on certain dates and times in order to help conserve water during the ongoing drought. Addresses ending in even numbers may water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Addresses ending in odd numbers may water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
However, when it rains you may be able to reduce your watering schedule even further. After a rainstorm, you may be able to avoid watering your lawn for up to two weeks. If you're in doubt, you can check your soil moisture using a moisture meter before you water.
Making even a few small changes can help conserve water and electricity, making your home more eco-friendly and potentially saving money. How are you conserving water and energy this winter? Share your favorite seasonal tips with us on social media.