Winter is when most families spend the bulk of their energy expenses. Lights have to be turned on early in the evening, the heater needs to be run for months on end, and people are inside a significant amount of time, using appliances throughout the day. Saving energy wherever possible is vital, and we have four different ways to save energy during the winter months.
It’s probably obvious that we would start here, but your heating can account for up to 50% of your total winter time energy use. Small changes in how you use your heater can have a big impact on your energy usage.
For starters, try setting your thermostat just a degree or two colder. Chances are, you won’t notice the slight adjustment. However, every degree you knock off will save you 3%-5% of your heating cost throughout the month. This is a rough number which varies depending on the specific heater you have and the temperature outside, but you can see how small adjustments can add up.
For example, if you were able to lower your thermostat by three degrees, you should be able to lower your heating bill by around 10%!
Next, take stock of your home and make sure you are setting your furnace up for success. Make sure your furnace filters are cleaned – a dirty filter means your furnace has to work harder to push the heated air through, resulting in higher energy costs.
Where you can, close vents in rooms you don’t use. Why pay to heat rooms you don’t use often in the winter?
If you have ceiling fans, you might be missing out on a small but substantial adjustment you need to make every winter.
Your ceiling fans should have two settings. They should be able to run in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. Believer it not, the direction you set has a major impact on how the fan interacts with your air.
During the winter, you want the fan to pull the air up, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a clockwise direction. When set this way, the fan will be circulating the warm air onto the ceiling, and pushing it around the room. This will help spread the warm air around, thus lowering your reliance on your furnace as much.
Don’t stop with your ceiling fans. Try to also eliminate or reduce the amount you run your exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Situated at the top of the room, the exhaust fans suck your valuable warm air out of the house.
Believer it or not, holiday lights are one of the largest reasons for a winter time spike in your power bill.
For starters, take stock of all the places you will be using additional lighting for your holiday decorations. The outside of your house, the tree, window lighting… make a comprehensive list.
Next, try to replace these lights with new LED versions. LED lighting is significantly cheaper than incandescent, and will last you a lot longer.
Lastly, if you’re the type that tends to leave your holiday lights on all night, consider setting up a timer to turn them off each night. This can be automated rather simply, and will save you a lot over the course of the holiday season.
There are a variety of areas your home uses up your energy throughout the winter months. Paying attention to how your house uses (and wastes) energy can save you a lot.
Ensure your doors are sealed as best as possible. We’re not talking about internal doors that transition from room to room, but your exterior doors. Specifically, check the base of the door. On a cold day, put your hand down at the base of the door. If you feel cold air, you need to seal the door base.
You can buy a door seal for not much money at a local home improvement store. This will keep your home from constantly leaking valuable warm air out into the environment.
Also, try lowering the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater has to keep a supply of water heated to the temperature you set, and depending on the temperature you keep it at, this can be quite costly. Similar to lowering the temperature of your thermostat, lowering the temperature of your water heater can result in big savings for you.
Winter can be a very expensive season for home energy bills. Try following some of these simple ways to save you energy this winter, and your wallet will thank you.
Allen Michael is the founder and editor of The StickVacuums, a website focused on helping others keep a clean home as efficiently as possible. Allen stumbled onto stick vacuums while trying to help his family keep their home clean with less work, and has since become an expert on saving money and time in your home.