The cold winter months are here, and it’s time to start thinking of ways to save energy in your home.
As utility bills can skyrocket during the winter season, here are some ways to stay warm and cozy when temperatures drop. From weatherstripping windows to using the correct light bulbs, these smart and simple tips can help keep energy costs low.
Energy Saving Tip #1: Insulate Your Windows and Walls
Ensure that you are correctly insulating all windows, doors, walls, attics, or any other area susceptible to frigid temperatures. This tip can help keep the warmth in and the chillout – which will save on energy costs!
- Seal it all up nice and tight with weatherstripping. Most weatherstripping is relatively inexpensive (around $10) but can significantly impact increasing energy efficiency, especially when coupled with other energy-saving tips for the winter.
- Fiberglass insulation can also insulate the attic and walls, which is another source of heat loss. The more insulation you have in your home, the less energy you will use!
Seal Out All Air Leaks
Air leaks can lead to excessively high energy bills, especially during the winter season when heat loss is at its highest. Make sure to seal all air leaks and gaps around windows, doors, vents, and other areas that let cold air in. This will help maintain a better temperature equilibrium which can lead to lower energy costs. Be sure you are correctly sealing all doors and windows with caulk so cold air does not escape.
Using weatherstripping on doors and windows will help reduce heat loss from your home, which means less money spent! It is easy to install and can be purchased at most hardware stores. Once you have cleaned the area where it will go, simply place it between your door or window sill and the frame of your home. This simple solution helps keep cold air outside.
Energy Saving Tip #2: Let the Sun in During the Day
Utilize the great benefits of natural light by opening up your curtains and blinds during sunlight hours. South-facing windows permit the most winter sunlight into the home. The sun can provide all the warmth you need for those brutal winter days, so take advantage of it!
Energy Saving Tip #3: Use Landscaping to Your Advantage
Make your house a little greener this year with landscaping that allows heat to radiate into your home.
- Planting deciduous trees–that lose their leaves in the winter–around the perimeter of your house can help let heat in when the weather turns chilly.
- If deciduous trees aren’t for you, evergreens can also provide insulation between the cold ground and your home.
Energy Saving Tip #4: Cooking? Keep it Simmering Low!
Help conserve energy by cooking at low temperatures this winter season. If foods are cooked at low temperatures, they won’t stick to the pot, it won’t take as long to cook, and they’ll stay moister. When using the oven, try not to open the door to check on the dish’s progress as hot air is contained in the oven. Frequent peeking reduces the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees forcing the oven to work harder than necessary to achieve the original temperature.
Crockpots use less electricity compared to other cooking methods. Just dump the ingredients in and let it cook while you’re away or when it’s bedtime, this means no more spending hours cooking meals.
By sealing in water and heat, cooking with crockpot seals in heat and water, making the process more energy-efficient- with minor clean-up at the end of the meal!
Energy Saving Tip #5: Stay Warm With Clothes and Blankets
Staying warm isn’t always about the thermostat, but rather how you dress for the occasion.
Layer your clothing to sleep under several blankets and ensure that all doors are closed while sleeping so cold air doesn’t get in.
Down comforters are a great option to stay warm on those cold winter nights.
Energy Saving Tip #6: Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Using energy-efficient light bulbs is a great way to save energy and money. They may cost you more upfront than standard incandescent light bulbs but will help reduce your energy bill in the long run.
The three main types of energy-efficient light bulbs are CFLs, LEDs, and halogens.
- CFL- stands for Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs and are miniature versions of the long fluorescent lights you see at grocery stores.
- LED – produces light using light-emitting diodes, which is also what it stands for.
- Halogens – are a type of incandescent lamp that uses a halogen gas (like iodine and bromine) to increase light.
Despite CFLs being 25%-35% more energy-efficient, it’s recommended that one goes with LED’s or Halogen light bulbs as CFLs contain toxic mercury, which creates hazardous waste.
Energy Saving Tip #7: Utilize Low Energy Appliances
Using full-sized appliances during high electricity usage times, typically 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, will seriously increase your monthly energy bill.
Reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills by updating to energy-efficient appliances for your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine, as these appliances use the most energy in your home. If these appliances are 10-20 years old, they are very likely wasting energy and unnecessarily adding to your annual bills.
If you’re not in the place to update your appliances, follow these tips below to reduce your annual cost and save energy:
- Keep your refrigerator stocked, organized, and closed as much as possible. The longer the door is open, the more cold air escapes, and the more energy is needed to reduce the temperature again once the door is closed.
- When washing clothes, always wash full loads at a high spin speed, and before drying, be sure to clean the lint dryer consistently. Air drying your clothes is also a great way to save energy while also extending the lifetime of your clothing.
- Save energy while using the dishwasher by utilizing all racks available as dishwashers use the same amount of water, whether half-full or completely full. Additionally, rather than pre-rinse your plates, use a food scraper to remove excess food, as modern dishwashers have powerful jets that do a great job at cleaning heavily soiled dishes.
Energy Saving Tips #8: Use a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats can save you up to $150 per year and provide significant energy savings. They offer the ability for your home’s temperature to automatically adjust when no one is home, which helps keep costs down.
Just set your indoor temperature and let it work its magic, so you don’t have to worry about returning home to a cold house during winter.
Energy Saving Tip #9: Consider Heating Zones for Your Home
Heating zones (zones of your home that have separate thermostats that you control the temperature through) are an excellent way to lower heating costs and save energy.
A way to create home heating zones is by utilizing radiant heat. Radiant heat is a system that produces heat under your home’s floor that rises upwards throughout your house. You can choose only to heat the occupied room with radiant heat and save money on energy costs by not heating empty rooms. Radiant heat also provides a more even distribution of heat, where forced air systems may not distribute heat evenly.
Energy Saving Tip #10: Unplug Electronics Not in Use
Unplugging electronics not being used can save you up to ten percent a year, making a massive difference in your monthly utility bill.
Many electronic devices continuously plugged in, such as cell phones and laptop chargers, still use energy even when they appear to be unused. This “phantom” power can add up throughout the day, which makes it important to unplug electronics not currently being used.
Energy Saving Tip #11: Check your HVAC filters frequently
Checking your HVAC filters regularly is easy to ensure you get the best performance out of your heater.
Dirty filters can reduce airflow through the system, reducing efficiency and making it work harder than necessary. By replacing or cleaning your filter once a month, you will help keep your energy bills low while ensuring that the air you are breathing is clean and fresh.
Energy Saving Tip #12: What Size to Chop Fireplace Wood
The size of the wood you use in your fireplace significantly impacts how efficiently it burns.
Chopping large pieces of firewood into smaller bits will help them heat up faster and release more heat. This way, there is less time spent waiting for logs to catch fire while also reducing energy used by your furnace or boiler because they aren’t spending as much time heating the air.
Another way to increase efficiency is by using dry, seasoned hardwoods with very low moisture content.
Energy Saving Tip #13: Water Efficient Shower Head
A water-efficient showerhead can help reduce how much energy your heater uses to heat the water that goes into a hot shower.
Many water-efficient showerheads have a flow rate of two to three gallons per minute, which is significantly less than the average five-gallon-per-minute showerheads. This means your heater will use less energy heating up your showers which saves you money in the end. It is estimated that using one of these heads will save you approximately $200 over the lifetime of an average family’s showers!
Energy Saving Tip #14: Get An Energy Audit
Getting an energy audit is a great way to find out how to start saving on your heating bill.
An auditor will come and inspect the inside of your home and look at its insulation levels and air leakage. An energy audit is also an excellent way for you to learn more about your home so that you can make better decisions when it comes to taking care of your heating and cooling system.
It can be a little expensive, but once they’ve completed the audit, they can provide you with a list of recommendations to help reduce your heating bill in the long run.
There are many easy ways to reduce energy costs by just making a few simple changes around your home. By reducing energy usage, you will be able to lower your monthly bills and feel good knowing that you are doing something positive for the environment.