Portland Real Estate Guide: Tips for Cutting Down on Winter Utility Bills

For most people in Portland, the coldest months mean higher utility bills, but there are steps you can take to prevent your energy and heating costs from skyrocketing this winter. In this age of high-end sustainable renovations, high-profile LEED certifications, and the seemingly never-ending marketing of the next popular Energy Star kitchen or home appliance, it sometimes feels like you need to spend a lot of money in order to cut back on energy use and save money. However, like many things in life, small changes can add up to a big difference, and some of the most important adjustments you can make in your home are downright cheap – leading to big savings this winter.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home, or are looking for ways to improve your home to make it more attractive on the Portland Real Estate market, energy-friendly changes can make a big difference, especially because they can result in direct savings on your winter utility bills. The Portland Real Estate market is filled with new construction homes that often come with great insulation and energy-saving appliances, but a lot of people are living in fixer-uppers and classic historical Portland homes that could use a bit of help in the cooler months.

- On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let in the sun’s warmth. Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.

- Set thermostats between 65 and 70° during the winter, and at 58° when away from the house for more than a few hours. Bear in mind that warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.

- Turn down thermostats automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

- Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.

- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.

- Set water heater temperatures at 120°. this will allow a family to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.

- Openings around your doors and windows let warm air out and cold air in during cooler months, sapping your home of temperature control and requiring more energy to maintain the temperature you want. You can cut your energy bills up to 30 percent simply by making sure the gaps around your homes windows and doors are sealed using weather stripping.

- Place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.

Real estate agents are focusing more and more on the potential energy benefits of the homes they are representing, so if you need tips on how to make the most of your home’s energy uses in order to successfully sell your property, or if you’re looking for a Portland home that has been remodeled for smart energy use and sustainability, contact the McDonald Group Real Estate agents today.

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