The winter can be one of the most expensive times of the year when it comes to energy costs. On top of your normal energy usage, the cold winter weather will also likely drive up your heating costs. Many people end up spending more time inside during the winter months, which may also increase electricity consumption. Here are a few great ways to save energy during these cold months.
- Turn down your thermostat. Aim to keep it at 68 degrees. According to the US Department of Energy, for each degree you turn your heat down, you will save 3 percent on heating costs—so this simple trick can actually save you quite a bundle!
- Another way to save energy is to replace and/or clean your furnace filters. The average furnace filter from your local hardware store is designed to last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. These filters generally only cost $3–$20, depending on how long they last and on other benefits they provide, like filtering your air for allergens. If this doesn’t improve the efficiency of your furnace, you can also get your furnace evaluated to see if it needs any tune-ups.
- If you have access to your water heater, try lowering the hot water temperature. The hotter the water, the more energy it takes to heat it. Lowering the max temperature on your water heater will limit the amount of energy that’s used for hot water.
- Seal up all gaps around your windows and doors. For these drafty areas, try filling the gaps with V-seal weather stripping, rope caulk, or shrink film. You can also purchase a draft guard for your door so that cold air doesn’t sneak in around the edges. For windows, heavy curtains can also provide an extra layer of insulation that will help keep the heat in and the cold out.
- If you have the money to invest, consider replacing gas appliances with ENERGY STAR rated appliances that are very energy efficient. And speaking of ENERGY STAR, you can also replace lower efficiency light bulbs to cut down on lighting costs during the darker winter months.
Finally, here’s one completely free thing that you can do to feel warmer: try rearranging your rooms so that your furniture is not touching exterior walls. While this won’t directly save you money, moving away from exterior walls and windows will ensure that you’re sitting away from drafty areas. This will help you feel warmer and help prevent overheating to compensate for those areas. This method is particularly effective if you are moving a couch or your bed, as those are locations where we spend much of our time.
Do you have any other winter energy saving tips? Share with us in the comments below!