There's no doubt about, winter is on its way. We've compiled a few tips for keeping the heat in and the cold out which can help you save some green this winter.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture -- the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like. You can use any scraps of fabric -- even neckties -- and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.
CHANGE FURNACE FILTERS
It's important to replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.
Consider switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle. Did you know that disposable fiberglass filters trap a measly 10 to 40% of debris? Electostatic filters trap around 88%, and are much better at controlling the bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen that cause illness and irritation. They cost $50 to $1,000 or more. Another good choice is a genuine HEPA filter (like the one pictured), which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are based on Department of Energy standards. But avoid "HEPA-like" filters, which can be vastly less effective.
REVERSE YOUR FANS
Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it warmer: air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space - cutting your heating costs as much as 10%!