10 Essential Energy-Saving Tips for Winter

10 Essential Energy-Saving Tips for Winter

There are clear environmental and financial benefits to making your home more energy efficient this winter. You’ll be warmer, your utility bills will drop, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

There are changes you can make throughout the home to ensure that you use less energy. Some are easy and require very little effort on your part, and others will call for a small investment that will pay for itself over time.

1. Make Better Use of the Sun

Energy from the sun is free, and you can let it heat your home by opening curtains in south-facing rooms during the day. As night falls and the temperature drops, close them again to keep the heat inside and help block out any chill.

If you live in very cold climates, then it may be worth the investment to get heavier drapes that will provide you with more thermal protection. You can also take a look at your landscaping to see if you have any tree branches or bushes that are shading your home and cut them back.

2. Say Farewell to Air Leaks

Eliminate air leaks around your home by investing in some window and door protection. Use caulk for small gaps around windows. Put new weatherstripping around your doors and where windows open.

Spray foam is great for larger gaps, but you may have to remove the trim around windows to find those. Take a close look around pipes, electrical outlets, and vents that are located on exterior walls or in the floors.

3. Cover up Drafty Doors and Windows

Special plastic sheeting kits come with handy pieces of plastic and the double-sided tape you need to secure a covering over windows. You can also replace worn weatherstripping, adjust the door thresholds for a tighter fit, and get a door sweeper that will help block out larger drafts.

If it’s in the budget, new windows and doors will pay for themselves after a few years of lower heating bills.

4. Maintain Your HVAC System

A well-tuned heater costs less to run and works more effectively. Invest in a tune-up this year to ensure that your blower is pointed the right way, everything is lubricated, and your system is ready to go.

This is also a great time to vacuum off vent covers and make sure that you’re not blocking vents with furniture or curtains.

5. Remember the Fireplace

The fireplace is a major source of heat loss, but there are steps you can take to stop this. Always keep the damper closed unless you’re using it.

If you never use it, then you can plug and seal the flue, and replace the log rack with an electric heater that will give you the ambience you want without any heat loss. Invest in quality fireplace doors to further block drafts.

6. Go Programmable on the Thermostat

Digital thermostats allow you to leave it and forget it, so you won’t have to worry about the heat being bumped up throughout the day. You can also set it to drop lower at night when everyone will be covered up with heavy blankets in bed.

After upgrading the thermostat, take a walk through the house to adjust vents. Close off vents to rooms that are unused and shut the door. Heat rises, so keep vents on the first floor open fully and then close upper floor vents fully or partially to even out the temperature throughout the home.

7. Reverse the Ceiling Fan

Most ceiling fans allow you to reverse the direction to achieve better airflow and trap heat inside in the cooler seasons. Use a low setting to effectively warm the room. You can also add a humidifier to keep everything feeling warmer than it actually is.

8. Lower the Hot Water Setting

Check the temperature of your water heater. If it’s above 120 degrees, then you may want to lower this a notch to save money. If you travel, then turn the water heater down to the lowest setting to save even more.

9. Ghost Electric Drain is Real

Power plugs that have a box on the end are proven to pull power even when they’re not in use. When your cell phone is done charging, unplug the cable from the wall and the phone to save money.

Go through the home and identify other electronics that aren’t in use regularly and get them disconnected to stop this phantom drain.

10. Go LED for the Holidays

Most holiday decorations are now available with LED lights. This includes yard ornaments, trees, and the lights for your eaves. You may even be able to take advantage of trade-in programs where your local store will give you a nominal credit for the old packs of lights that aren’t as efficient.

LEDs are 75 percent more efficient than regular light bulbs, and they last longer. You’ll spend a little more on decorations this year, but you’ll see a big difference in your power bill afterward.

A few small changes can make a big difference in your energy bills. You’ll enjoy the savings, as well as really appreciate knowing that you’re doing your part to preserve our energy sources, help the environment, and protect the planet.

Emily Preston

Emily Preston

She is a stay-at-home mom of a young environmentalist, freelance writer, cat lover, fitness junkie, and a huge fan of nature and eco-living.
Emily Preston

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