Temperatures are starting to fall, which means energy consumption will most likely start to rise. People tend to consume more energy in the winter in order to stay warm with heaters, electric blankets, and hot showers. But staying warm comes at a cost. The more energy you consume this winter, the higher your utility bills will climb. Fortunately, there are ways to save energy—and keep costs low—without sacrificing your comfort. Follow these winter energy-saving tips:
What Should You Set Your Thermostat At in the Winter?
The average household in the U.S. spends just over $2,000 on energy bills every year. Heating your home in the winter accounts for about 29% of this annual total. This means adjusting your thermostat could lead to significant energy savings.
Setting the temperature too high will waste energy and overheat your home, whereas setting it too low will make your home uncomfortably cold. It’s important to find the sweet spot between these two settings so you can remain comfortable while also saving energy.
Most people keep their thermostats set somewhere between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is unnecessarily high. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Keeping the thermostat at this level will not drastically change the temperature in your home, but it will lower your energy bills.
There’s no point in keeping the heater on when no one is home, so make sure you lower the temperature even further when the house is empty. Dialing the temperature down by at least 7 degrees when you’re gone will save a significant amount of energy.
How Do I Keep Cold Air From Coming in My Windows?
Keeping cold air from coming inside your home is crucial to saving energy this winter. If cold air sneaks into your home, your heater will have to work even harder to keep you warm. The harder it works, the more energy it will consume, and the higher your utility bills will be. Here’s how to keep cold air out:
- Keep your curtains closed to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from making its way into your home.
- Apply self-sticking weather stripping around the window frame to seal air leaks.
- Put window insulation film on the inside of your windows. If applied correctly, this will not change the look of your windows, but it will keep cold air out.
- Close the damper when the fireplace is not in use. Keeping the damper open is the same as keeping a window open in your home, so make sure it’s closed when you’re not using the fireplace.
Following these tips will keep cold air out and ensure you stay comfortable inside your home all winter long.
How Can I Lower My Electric Bill in the Winter?
Adjusting the temperature on your thermostat and insulating your windows are not the only ways to save energy in the winter. You can also lower your electric bills—and save energy—by following these tips:
- Switch your ceiling fan’s rotation. Flip the switch located on your ceiling fan to switch the direction of your blades in the winter. The blades will rotate in reverse and push hot air near the ceiling down to your level.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The water in your home will still be warm, but this slight adjustment will reduce your energy usage.
- Insulate your floors by laying down rugs around your home.
- Turn the pool heater off until spring. No one will use the pool in the winter, so keeping it on will just waste energy.
- Turn the ice maker in your freezer off, too. This is another device that won’t be used much in the winter, so keep it off. Flipping the switch on the ice maker can reduce your freezer’s energy usage by about 20%.
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs to save energy on lighting. These bulbs use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
- Keep the oven door closed until the food is finished baking. Opening the door will allow heat to escape, so the oven will have to consume more energy to maintain the temperature.
- Plug devices into a power strip instead of wall outlets. Then, turn the power strip off when the devices are not in use. This prevents devices from consuming energy when they are turned off.
Make some of these changes around your house so you don’t break the bank on sky-high utility bills this winter.
Save Energy—And Money—With These Helpful Tips
As you can see, you don’t have to make major lifestyle changes or sacrifice your comfort in order to save energy this winter. Following these winter energy saving tips will help you keep your utility costs and energy usage low until spring!