Everyone wants to save money, right? Very few bills in life are actually controllable, but energy is one of them. Here are 25 energy saving tips for winter that you can try today.
If you could reduce your energy bill by even 10% a month, wouldn’t you want to?
Take a look down through the list and pick out at least five of these that you can start putting into practice today.
Energy Saving Tips for Winter
1. Lower Your Thermostat
The number one way to save energy during the winter is to turn down your thermostat.
The two biggest energy guzzlers are your refrigerator and your HVAC system.
You can’t turn your refrigerator off, so the only thing you can do is limit the usage of your furnace.
Instead of heating your home to the point where it feels like summer inside, turn down the thermostat, put on some fuzzy socks and long PJs and cozy up under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.
The best temperature setting for winter is 68 degrees while you’re home and around 62 degree when you’re asleep or away.
2. Let Sunshine Be your Friend
An often overlooked source for energy savings is the winter is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do.
Simply throw open the curtains and blinds for all sun facing windows and let the sunshine in.
Be careful to keep these closed when it’s dark or in parts of the home that receive no sun as they’ll help keep the heat away from cold glass.
3. Seal Drafty Windows and Doors
Gaps in your windows and doors are not only cosmetically ugly, they are affecting the bottom line of your checkbook (if anybody still uses those).
Buy a cheap caulking gun and seal the gaps around your windows. Consider weather stripping your doors or at the very least buy one of those “snakes” filled with sand to sit in front of the door.
4. Reduce the Usage of Vent Fans
An unexpected source of heat loss in the home comes from commonly used items like your over-the-range and bathroom vents.
Limit the use of these two items to only when necessary.
You really need to update your thermostat.
Technology has improved in the last 40 years since that thing was installed.
Now your thermostat can learn your schedule and increase or decrease temperature based on whether you’re home or not using GPS.
No use heating a home that’s unoccupied or while you’re sleeping. But if you still want to wake up to a warm home, a smart thermostat will turn on the furnace for you.
6. Check Your Attic Insulation
Another major source of heat loss is through the attic.
Everyone knows heat rises, so making sure your attic has plenty of insulation to keep that heat from escaping will save you tons on your energy bill.
7. Swap Out Inefficient Light Sources
Though not strictly for winter, this energy saving tip will help shave some dollars here or there.
Eliminating electricity hogging incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with newer LED lights should be a high priority for anybody, homeowner and renters alike.
8. Be Cautious with Fireplaces
I’m not going to tell you not to use your fireplace, because everyone likes a good fire in the winter.
But be aware that fireplaces are often another huge source of heat loss.
There are, however, a few things you can do to make your fireplace as energy efficient as possible.
1. Add an electric blower to help boost efficiency and airflow.
2. Seal the flue. Keep it closed when the fireplace is not in use and consider an inflatable flue sealer.
3. Install airtight doors that will keep the cold air out.
9. Put Away The Space Heater
I know it’s tempting to use the space heater instead of your furnace, but electricity is far and above more expensive than gas.
You’re better off running the furnace at a lower temperature than using a space heater.
That doesn’t even factor in the safety risks of running a space heater should it become covered or blocked unbeknownst to you.
10. Lay Out Some More Rugs
Rugs don’t just look nice, they also insulate the floor and keep your feet warm.
Put out rugs or lay down some carpet in the most lived areas of the home if cold floors/rooms are an issue.
Rooms with carpeting are routinely warmer than those with hardwood flooring.
11. Replace Your Furnace Filter
An often forgotten part of your furnace is the furnace filter.
Thankfully, this little piece of mesh costs you roughly $1-$3 and is easily purchased and replaced.
A dirty filter restricts airflow and makes your system work harder, thereby increasing your energy bill.
Replacing your furnace filter is one of the easiest energy saving tips to follow.
You should look to replace your filter at the beginning of every winter season. If you schedule a furnace tune-up, we’ll do it for you as part of the deal!
12. Get a Furnace Tune-up
Which leads right in our next point. Getting a furnace tune-up is a great energy saving tip for winter.
It’s like an oil change or dental cleaning for your furnace.
It makes sure your system is running as efficiently as it could and helps you avoid costly breakdowns later on.
13. Open Air Vents In Unused Rooms
This energy saving tip flies in the face of popular advice.
Everyone tells you to save money you should close vents in unused rooms to prevent from heating/cooling those rooms.
In fact, this does more harm than good.
Your system was designed to heat/cool your whole house. Not just a portion of it.
The power behind the unit in your garage or attic was specifically chosen to control the whole house.
By closing off these vents you destabilize the pressure in the vents and can cause damage to your system.
What’s worse? The temperature of that unused room doesn’t matter anyway.
Your furnace turns off, not when the whole house is warm, but when the air around the thermostat is warm. So that is the only room that really matters.
14. Don't Block Your Air Vents
Similar to, but different is what’s around your air vents.
Placing a big couch right beside the air vent or sandwiching it between furniture and a wall will reduce air flow in the room and cause it to heat up slower.
15. Don't Heat Unnecessary Places
“But you just told me to open up the air vents, now you’re telling me not to heat up unnecessary places?”
I’m not speaking of the spare bedroom you don’t use, but rather places where there is little or no insulation, but that you might visit regularly.
The primary place I’m thinking of is your garage.
You might use it for storage, have your car there, have a workshop, or do your laundry in the garage, but don’t heat it.
The second you turn off the heat source, it will be gone in under 15 minutes. It’s all wasted energy.
Limit your exposure time in this area, or wear appropriate winter clothing.
16. Be Smart About Thermostat Usage
Contrary to popular belief, cranking up your thermostat will not speed up the rate at which your home is heated.
If you aren’t paying attention to exactly when your home reaches your desired temperature, you’ll find your room too warm before too long.
Think of all the wasted energy you spent overheating your house.
17. Unplug Unused Appliances
Another timeless energy saving tip, this one involves limiting energy waste.
Do you find yourself leaving items plugged in all the time?
Your laptop charger? The coffee maker? Toaster?
All of these items continue to drain electricity, even when they’re not in use. Unplug them to cut down on your electric bill.
18. Open The Oven Door After Cooking
Before moving to San Diego, I used to live in Pennsylvania.
I remember one winter where the power went out and we used our gas oven to heat the home.
I’m not advocating for that. In fact, that’s pretty dangerous in retrospect, but you can still use that heat to your advantage.
If you’re cooking a casserole for dinner and you bothered to heat your over to 400 degrees, you might as well use all that heat to help warm your home and reduce the load on your furnace.
Open up the door and let all that heat out when you’re finished.
Be careful of the little ones, though. If you have young children, this may not be such a great idea.
19. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Were you aware that your ceiling fan can blow in two directions?
I only discovered that within the last year.
During the winter you should reverse the fan so that air flow goes upward. Meaning you shouldn’t feel any wind when standing beneath it.
This sucks in and pushes it up against the ceiling, displacing that warm air that’s risen and is hanging around up there.
It forces the warm air over to the walls and back down to the floor.
Circulating the warm air will help your house heat more quickly.
20. Remove Window Air Conditioners
This may seem like a no brainer, but I will personally attest that I don’t do this as often as I should.
When I lived in Pennsylvania, where temperature’s dipped into the single digits on a frequent basis, this was a necessity.
But in San Diego, we frequently leave them in the window all year round.
Sometimes there’s even the occasion to use them in the winter on those days it hits 80 degrees in the middle of the day.
Even so, temperatures still dip down into the 40s at night and require the use of both AC and Furnace on the same day.
21. Lower Your Water Heater's Temperature
If you find that leaving the hot water run long enough causes the water to become so hot as to burn your skin, then you could probably do with turning the temperature down a little.
Turning down the setting just one or two notches could amount to a substantial savings in the long run.
22. Do Laundry Sparingly
Another universal energy saving tip for you.
Your washer works just as hard and uses just as much energy whether you have one item in it, or it’s stuffed full.
Of course, newer machines have load settings which help mitigate this difference, but it’s still a lot of power.
Try to let the laundry pile up and do as much in a single load as possible. This will cut down on the amount of time the machines need to be running.
I even recently discovered that throwing a dry towel into the dryer with your wet clothes can reduce drying time by up to 25% because the towel will absorb the moisture.
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ll be testing it out for sure.
23. Use Large Appliances During Off Peak Times
Here in San Diego they recently launched an initiative to reduce electricity usage during the peak hours of 4 PM to 9 PM.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently rolled out a new Time-of-Use pricing plan that rewards customers for honoring these peak times and charges them even less for off peak hours.
You can really save on your electric bill if you minimize your electricity usage during this 5 peak hours in the early evening.
24. Spend Less Time in the Shower
This tip not only saves energy, but water as well.
Though this sort of practice is more prevalent in drought-prone areas to save on water, cutting the amount of time you spend in the shower will also reduce your energy bill.
Less hot water used means the water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to reheat the whole tank.
After all, heating a few gallons is easier than half a tank.
Try to keep your showers to between 5-10 minutes.
Yes, it can be done.
25. Replace Your Furnace
This last energy saving tip is an extreme and costs quite a bit of money.
Just how much does a furnace cost, though?
It’s cheaper than you think, but it still will take you a few years to recoup the upfront losses.
If you’re furnace is more than 20 years old, though, it’s already on it’s way out and cost to repair alone could be hurting your wallet, not to mention the increased energy bills from an inefficient system.
If you live in San Diego, contact Precision Temperature at 619-588-5321 if you think you might need a new furnace.