According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating & cooling systems are the biggest energy hogs in American households.
In fact, they accounted for 55 percent of the total energy consumption in the U.S. in 2015.
HVAC systems usually put in the most effort during the summer and winter months, which is why you usually see energy costs rise during these periods.
That’s fine, though, since the increase in heating costs is often tied to people’s comfort and survival, especially in winter.
Then again, there are ways to combat the surge in energy bills during wintertime.
In fact, we’ll walk you through a handful of winter energy saving tips for reducing those heating costs and slashing that energy bill without compromising warmth and comfort during winter.
- Winter Energy Saving Tips for a Comfortable and Energy-Efficient Household
- Tip #1: Sunlight Is Your Friend
- Tip #2: Keep Curtains Closed at Night-time
- Tip #3: Fix Drafty Windows and Air Leaks
- Tip #4: Keep Vents and Doors in Unused Parts of the Home Closed
- Tip #5: Use Blankets and Clothes To Keep Warm
- Tip #6: Readjust the Settings of Your Water Heater’s Thermostat
- Tip #7: Use Ceiling Fans To Keep Air Circulating
- Tip #8: Space Heaters to the Rescue
- Tip #9: Use LED Lights for Home Lighting
- Tip #10: Leave the Oven Door Ajar After Using the Oven
- Tip #11: Set the Temperature in Your Home Lower From Time to Time
- Tip #12: Turn Down the Thermostat When You Head to Bed
- Tip #13: Purchase a Smart Thermostat
- Tip #14: Make Sure Your Heating Systems Get a Yearly Inspection
- Tip #15: Be Energy Efficient When Using Your Devices
- Year-Round Savings on Your Energy Bill
Winter Energy Saving Tips for a Comfortable and Energy-Efficient Household
Winter can often put you in situations where you feel there is no choice but to stretch your HVAC systems to the limit. Unfortunately, this results in high electric bills that can drain your wallet.
Good thing; there are actually other, more energy-efficient ways to manage these situations than you may have realized.
Tip #1: Sunlight Is Your Friend
If you are after heat and warmth, the sun has a lot of it!
When the strong winter chill starts taking its toll on your heating systems, you can leverage the sun as a source of the daytime heat.
If your area gets a lot of sun, try opening your blinds, curtains, and even the windows to let that natural heat into your home.
Tip #2: Keep Curtains Closed at Night-time
Windows help you take advantage of the greenhouse effect for a toastier home during the daytime. However, it can also be responsible for heat loss at night.
Prevent the chillier evening air from cooling your home by closing your blinds and curtains.
Moreover, insulated curtains help improve your windows’ energy efficiency, so consider replacing ordinary curtains with them during wintertime.
Tip #3: Fix Drafty Windows and Air Leaks
The great thing about air sealing is that it is relatively cheap and effective.
Not to mention, the money that goes into weather stripping and caulking usually come back to you tenfold in the form of energy savings.
Caulk can be used for the openings and cracks between window frames, doors, and other areas directly linked to the outside.
Weatherstripping is ideal for objects that move, like the windows and doors themselves.
Tip #4: Keep Vents and Doors in Unused Parts of the Home Closed
If there is any part of the home you don’t use or you haven’t used in a while, you can save valuable heating energy by keeping the doors to these areas closed.
Make sure to close off all the vents, too. That way, you won’t have to pay good money to warm up unoccupied space.
Tip #5: Use Blankets and Clothes To Keep Warm
If you are looking to cut back on your energy bill, consider using thicker blankets and warmer clothes instead of setting your home’s thermostat settings on high.
You can save more money this way and still remain toasty warm during winter evenings.
Opt to wear a nice, warm sweater and a pair of wool socks indoors instead of ordinary clothes.
This way, you can set thermostat settings on low and prevent heating bills from getting out of hand.
If you are worried about the furry friend living with you, there are pet sweaters for sale, too.
However, we advise against using them on cats, as felines tend to get annoyed with clothing.
No need to concern yourself too much with them, though; they have a knack for finding the toastiest spot in the home. They’re all good!
Tip #6: Readjust the Settings of Your Water Heater’s Thermostat
Second to heating & cooling systems for highest energy consumption is water heating systems.
Heating water can eat up a lot of energy, even more so when the thermostat is set too high.
Water heaters heat to the set temperature of their thermostats, and they maintain that temperature for the entire day.
Thus, these devices will continuously reheat water based on the preset temperature, whether or not you use it.
By simply resetting the thermostat a couple of degrees lower, you should be able to shave a few bucks off your electric bills.
Tip #7: Use Ceiling Fans To Keep Air Circulating
Ceiling fans during winter? Won’t that only make your home chillier?
Not if you use a ceiling fan that also turns clockwise (ceiling fans normally turn counterclockwise to create somewhat of a wind chill).
This type of ceiling fan produces an updraft and spreads the warm air that collects near the ceiling to the entire room.
Tip #8: Space Heaters to the Rescue
It’s not only ceiling fans that can become your “energy-saving” grace; space heaters can be as much of a blessing as these devices, too.
They are particularly useful for heating small spaces because they won’t have to expend too much energy this way.
Electric space heaters are all about energy efficiency and can keep you warm without taking a toll on your utility bills.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about loss of heat through combustions and ducts with these appliances.
Space heaters are great for heating areas of your home that are closed off, like your storage room, guest bathroom, or garage.
However, using them to heat the entire home is less an energy-efficient idea than using a heat pump or a furnace to do the same.
Tip #9: Use LED Lights for Home Lighting
One of the small steps you can take towards living more sustainably is to use LED lights as home lighting.
These energy-efficient lighting alternatives consume a lot less energy and last several times longer than standard incandescent lighting.
While they can cost you a bit more upfront, they usually make up for this tenfold by helping you save a potentially huge amount on energy bills in the years to come.
Considering the fact that they are highly durable, this could mean until the time of your grandchildren.
Tip #10: Leave the Oven Door Ajar After Using the Oven
It’s no secret that the oven packs a lot of heat. Still, that doesn’t mean it is a good idea to heat your entire home with it.
Not only would that be a huge waste of energy, but it could become a major safety concern, too.
However, the oven can be a great supplement to your heating system a few minutes after you finish using it.
After a long baking session, you can leave the oven door ajar to let the remaining heat spread around the room.
You can even set the thermostat a couple of degrees lower to save on energy while the extra heat does its thing.
Tip #11: Set the Temperature in Your Home Lower From Time to Time
We know the chill of the winter months can sometimes become unbearable in the absence of the appropriate heating systems in your home to counteract it.
However, winter does not mean extreme chill the entire time.
There are ebbs and flows in the temperature, which you can take advantage of if you are looking to save energy.
When the sun is up, and the skies are clear during the daytime, you can try to reduce your utility bills by turning down the thermostat settings to the temperature you find most comfortable.
Tip #12: Turn Down the Thermostat When You Head to Bed
Did you know that by turning your thermostat down a mere five degrees, you can save as much as 10 percent on your energy bills?
So, set your thermostat a couple of degrees lower when you are not at home or when everyone is in bed.
You will be curled up beneath a warm blanket anyway, so you shouldn’t mind the slight drop in temperature.
Tip #13: Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is a programmable thermostat that comes with even more features.
You can control it from anywhere in the world to maximize your efforts to become more energy efficient.
Smart thermostats are capable of reading your habits and the circumstances in your home to deliver optimal energy-saving temperatures.
It may entail additional costs, but its wide range of energy-conserving features can more than make up for this in the long run.
Tip #14: Make Sure Your Heating Systems Get a Yearly Inspection
If you don’t have the skill or experience to do a comprehensive yearly inspection of your heating systems, make an appointment with professionals who do.
Doing so ensures minor issues are addressed and kept from becoming major problems that could potentially result in soaring utility bills.
Subjecting your heating system to annual check-ups keeps it running optimally consistently.
It also increases your system’s lifespan and may contribute to significant energy savings in the years to come.
Tip #15: Be Energy Efficient When Using Your Devices
Just because it is winter doesn’t mean we use technology any less. In many ways, it becomes even more necessary to occupy our time indoors.
Many would be on their phones and computers more, communicating with friends and family and doing work primarily through these devices.
Being indoors a lot could also mean a surge in electrical appliance use; after all, what else is there to do?
If you are not much of a winter outdoorsman, you could be feeling the heat from your electric bill if you don’t manage the use of your devices.
A key to doing that is to set your gadgets, electronics, and heating equipment to energy-saver mode to bring down energy consumption while maintaining comfort and performance.
This feature can come with other names depending on the product. It can be “battery saver mode” or “low power mode” in some models.
As for devices that aren’t in use, turn them off. You can plug these devices into a power strip so that you won’t need to shut them down individually.
Using an advanced power strip can help reduce energy consumption from devices in standby mode.
Other tips for curbing energy waste from devices, according to the Department of Energy, include:
- Wash in full loads and use cold water to wash your clothes to reduce water heating bills.
- As much as possible, do not open the oven door to check how the food’s cooking.
The difference between the kitchen and oven temperature is so stark that the temperature inside the oven could drop by as much as 25 degrees when you do so.
As a result, the oven would need to expend more energy to heat up again.
- Reduce your water heater’s temperature by 20 degrees from 140 to 120, and see a considerable amount slashed off your annual energy bill.
Year-Round Savings on Your Energy Bill
Winter energy saving tips go a long way to sparing you from sky-high energy bills.
Why limit the energy saving to only winter when there are practices that apply for the rest of the seasons?
Some of the tips we listed aren’t limited to winter use; you can apply them all year long.
For instance, you can use LED bulbs to power your home permanently.
These innovative lighting options not only come in energy-saving packages; they are also available in different designs to suit the theme of your home.
One thing’s for sure: wintertime can take a huge toll on your heating systems and your annual energy bills as a result.
That’s why managing energy usage during this period is crucial to achieving potentially huge savings throughout the year.