10 Winter Energy Savings Tips
Now that winter became official on December 21, it is time to think about saving energy. In the summer, you typically worry about running the air conditioner too much, but it is your fireplace and furnace that soak up energy in the winter season. Here are ten helpful ways to reduce and save energy during the winter, even on the coldest days.
1) Lower the Temperature
It may seem counterproductive to lower the temperature on your thermostat when you want to warm up, but it can help save energy. You don’t need to lower it to an uncomfortable level, but just enough where you can stay warm without setting it higher than is really necessary. Even turning it down just a couple degrees can make a big difference on your next energy bill. Also consider a programmable thermostat for when you are not home.
- Cover the Windows
If you feel a draft coming through your windows, it is time to cover them up and seal where necessary. A good way to reduce how much heat you need is by attaching a heavy-duty plastic sheet to the inside of the window frames. Seal it very tightly and get the clear kind so that you don’t notice it. You should also get insulating curtains or drapes.
- Replace Furnace Filters
The furnace in your home has filters that need to be cleaned and replaced regularly. If the filters get clogged, they may stop proper airflow, and require more heat and energy to be used.
- Pay Attention to the Fireplace
You can lose quite a bit of heat very quickly when you use the fireplace. While it might seem like using it is saving energy, it may not be heating up as well as you think. Keep the damper closed when not in use and have the hearth sealed and caulked so you don’t lose heat. You should also plug and seal the chimney flue if you never use it.
- Replace Old Heating Equipment
When your major appliances get to be more than 10 years old, it is often prudent to replace them because they aren’t as energy efficient as they used to be or as newer models are. If you have a furnace or other heating equipment in your home that you know is older than that, it is time to replace it. Now is the perfect time to get a more energy-efficient one.
- Seal All Leaks
Leaks are one of the biggest ways you lose heat and end up using more energy to feel comfortable during the winter. Before winter starts, locate and seal any leaks near pipes, furnaces, equipment, doors, and windows.
- Clean the Flue Vent
If you have a pellet or wood-burning heater, the flue vent needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, as well as inside the appliance. Use a wire brush to keep it cleaned and you will notice you don’t have to turn up the heat quite so high or as often.
- Maintain the Heating Equipment
Not only should you clean filters and inside the flue vents of any heating equipment, but keep it maintained regularly too. You want to have routine maintenance that keeps it in running order, and have a professional inspect it once a year before the cold season starts.
- Use the Fireplace
Many people think their fireplace is too much work for heating, but it can save you a lot of energy, when you use and maintain it properly. If you spend most of your time at home in the family room, put some logs on the fire and let this natural warmth envelop you instead of turning on the heater and wasting energy.
- Be Kind to the Environment
While it may not reduce your energy bill, you can still help the environment by using only non-toxic de-icing substances in the winter. Using materials like fireplace ash, cat litter and send instead of chemicals will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Keep in mind that a whole house fan can reduce your utility bill as well, especially in the spring, summer, and fall by reducing or eliminating the need to run your air conditioning.