As temperatures begin to drop, you may be thinking about enjoying your favorite pumpkin spice treat, taking a trip to see the beauty of changing leaves, or even decorating for Halloween. But have you thought about how you can save on energy costs this winter? If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to start thinking about it because, as they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. And the winter season is notorious for three things: bad weather, poor driving conditions, and soaring utility bills.
There are many different ways that you can help keep your energy costs down this winter, so let’s take a look at a few.
Save on Energy Costs With Your HVAC System
Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is the obvious place to start when you’re looking to decrease your energy use and costs.
- Inspect and Change Your Furnace Filters Regularly – While regularly replacing your filters can cost your money up front, doing so improves airflow and decreases your monthly utility bill.
- Adjust the Temperature – Keep your thermostats set at the low end of comfortable, and dial them back 10° to 15°F at night and while you’re away from home.
- Use Programmable Thermostats – A programmable thermostat allows you to maintain a lower ambient temperature while you’re away from the house, but still come home to a nice, comfortable environment.
Save on Energy Costs Around the House
While your HVAC system is the obvious starting place, there are many other areas of your home that can help you save on energy costs in the winter. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorites.
- Install ENERGY STAR Windows and Doors – Not surprisingly, your windows and doors are the main points of your home where heat escapes and cold enters. Installing energy efficient windows and doors helps you save energy and money throughout the colder months.
- Cover Drafty Windows – If you aren’t able to upgrade to energy efficient windows, a tightly sealed plastic film over your window frames can greatly decrease the amount of cold air infiltration coming from cold windows.
- Utilize Your Window Coverings Correctly – You can help your home stay warmer by opening blinds or curtains on south facing windows during the day to let in sunshine and closing all window coverings at night.
- Find and Seal Air Leaks – Many homes have a variety of small gaps that allow cold air in and warm air out; finding and sealing these gaps can improve your home’s energy efficiency and help save on energy costs.
- Use LED Lighting Options – LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is quickly become the go-to for high-efficiency lighting. These lights last an extremely long time, provide plenty of light with a far lower energy usage than traditional bulbs, and emit almost no waste heat. Using LED bulbs around your house and LED holiday lights can greatly decrease your energy usage this winter and all year long.
- Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature – Most water heaters will maintain a temperature of close to 120°F on their “warm” setting. Using this lower setting can not only save you money, it can prevent scalding your hands.
- Turn Off the Lights and Electronics – Most people think about turning off the lights to save on energy costs, but what about your electronics? Many kitchen appliances, DVD and Blu-Ray players, TVs, and computers draw a small amount of power even when they aren’t in use. Unplugging them or turning off their power strips when you aren’t using them can add up to big savings in the long run.
- Prepare Your Home For Vacation – If you plan on being away from home for more than a few days, you can save a lot of money by going through proper home preparation. Before you leave, unplug all unnecessary electronics, lower your water heater to the lowest setting, lower the thermostat, and make sure that all lights are turned off. When you return home, simply reverse the process and you’re good to go.
As winter draws nearer, we hope that you will use these energy saving tips and tricks to help you save money on your energy bill. If you’re working on a budget, start with the suggestions that cost nothing to implement and work your way up to the bigger, more expensive home improvements.