Even though this month has been unusually mild, no doubt those typical frigid temperatures will soon blast us back to the realities of winter. Which is why we have some simple strategies for saving energy during the cold months ahead. Here they are – our top energy saving tips for winter.
Let the sun in. By opening up your blinds or curtains on south-facing windows during the day, the sunlight can help heat up your home the natural way (but close them back up at night to reduce the chill that comes from cold windows).
Check your windows. There are several options for solving the problem of drafty windows. First, examine your weather strips are in good shape around your window frames and replace as needed. Next, consider installing tight-fitting, insulating drapes or window shades as a second barrier. And finally, install plastic indoor window covers, making sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce drafts.
Adjust your thermostat. During the day, adjust your heating system to the lowest setting that is comfortable. Turn your thermostat back during sleeping hours and add a blanket or two on to your beds. By setting the thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours, you can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
Look for leaks. There are a number of unsuspecting areas that can wreak havoc on your heating bill, just because they’re leaking cold air into your home. For starters, make sure utility pipe cut-throughs (also called plumbing penetrations) are sealed tight. Check for leaks in the gaps around chimneys, recessed lighting in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather-stripping to leaky doors and windows, and other areas that need sealed.
Maintain your heating system. If you haven’t already, schedule service for your heating system. We can check your system and make sure it’s in proper working order. Also, remember to replace your furnace filter once a month as needed.
Don’t forget your fireplace. Unless a fire is burning, keep your fireplace damper closed. An open damper is the same as an open winter during winter, as warm air will escape right out the chimney. When you do have a fire burning, close doors leading into the room, if possible, and then lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
Adjust your water heater. Did you know that water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home? If you turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F), you’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
Use the right holiday lights. In order to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays, use light-emitting diode — or “LED” — holiday light strings. And consider turning your display on for shorter periods (instead of from dusk to dawn), using a timer with multiple setting options.
How do you save energy?
Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to save energy during the winter? We’d love to hear about them. Please leave your comments below.