Winter brings low temperatures, freezing winds, and chilly precipitation — all of which encourage you to turn up your thermostat in hopes of keeping your home warm and cozy. However, increasing the heat in your home means you’re driving up the size of your gas and electricity bills. Thankfully, our 11 helpful winter energy-saving tips below can help you save money in and around your home .
- Lower the thermostat
- Inspect your HVAC system
- Air-seal your home
- Inspect the fireplace
- Use the windows
- Replace the air filter(s)
- Adjust your ceiling fan(s)
- Add insulation
- Use LED lights
- Insulate your pipes
- Wear more clothes
Much like our suggestions for summer, saving energy in winter comes down to improving how effectively you can use energy around the home. If you lower the stress on your heater by using it less, you will make great strides toward achieving a lower energy bill.
#1. Lower the Thermostat
We get it. No one really wants to be cold in the winter. But when you push your heater too far above 70° F, you’ll start seeing energy bills like you did in summer when you set your air conditioner at 72° F or below.
To begin seeing a real difference in your energy usage, we recommend the following setting for your thermostat:
- 68° F during the day when people are home
- 65° F (or lower if you can handle it) at night or when people are away from home
There’s a reason that several of the following tips all revolve around helping your heater work more effectively so you don’t have to keep it running all the time. It’s simple — your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system uses more energy than anything else in your home. Thus, if you want a lower bill in winter, you must start by using less energy to heat your home. Anything less won’t deliver the impact you want.
#2 Get Your HVAC System Inspected
To truly ensure that your heater is working properly all winter, you need to call a licensed professional to conduct a thorough inspection of your entire heating system. This includes the duct work, wiring, and other physical hardware. Any failure at any juncture of the home-heating process will result in wasted heat, which means you’re spending too much money on heat no one uses.
#3 Air-Seal Your Home
You should close up all of the areas of your home where warm inside air can escape and cool outside air can sneak inside. We recommend paying attention to the following places:
- Your windows – add fresh silicone caulk to the inside and outside of your window frames
- Your doors – install new weatherstripping to the frames of all doors that lead to the outside (including to the garage)
- Your outlets – secure wall plates around outlets (including installing gaskets around the very loose ones)
- Your exterior – close openings in your foundation and other parts of your house
If you have leaks and drafts in your home, your heater will keep running all winter long because it can’t keep up with transfer of air between the interior and exterior of your home.
#4 Get the Fireplace Inspected
Unless you’re a professional fireplace inspector for your day job, you should hire one for your home. There are two primary reasons you need the inspection:
- If you don’t use your fireplace to heat your home, ensure the fireplace and chimney are sealed so cold air doesn’t enter the home.
- If you do use the fireplace to heat your home, confirm everything is in working order so you don’t inhale noxious gases and emissions.
Ultimately, the fireplace is a large hole in your house, so it needs to be attended to so your home doesn’t waste energy.
#5 Use Your Windows
Earlier, we sealed up the leaks in your windows so you can keep a strong heat envelope in your home. Now, it’s time to use those windows to aid in keeping your home comfortable.
- Install heavy curtains and keep them closed at night so warm air stays inside the home.
- Open the curtains during the day to let in ambient sunshine that warms the home.
The goal remains helping your home stay warm without overusing your heater, which drives up your energy bill.
#6 Replace Your Air Filter
Yes, you can find this tip on any list about energy efficiency, but it’s for a reason. The dirtier the air filter for your HVAC system, the harder it works to do its job. And the harder it works, the more energy you’ll use just to keep your home comfortable.
You should change the filter every three months at minimum, but most people recommended changing it once a month. We recommend consulting with the manufacturer of your HVAC unit to determine the best possible course of action for that machine.
#7 Adjust Your Ceiling Fan
Check every fan in your home to ensure they all spin clockwise. You want the fan to pull warm air up into the ceiling so it can then settle down into the room and keep you warm.
#8 Add Insulation
According to home improvement professionals, you want your attic insulation level to be r30 rated. Without proper insulation, your home is unable to retain heat properly, so your heater has to keep running so your family stays warm all winter.
Depending the age of your home and how it was constructed, you should also consider adding insulation to your walls. And while both of these tasks can be handled by a homeowner with do-it-yourself experience, you can also call a professional for assistance.
#9 Switch to LED Lights
This tip will be familiar to energy efficiency professionals, but we believe it should be discussed often. Traditional incandescent bulbs waste nearly 90% of their energy, while LED bulbs effectively use nearly 90%. Switching the bulbs in the most-used rooms of your house will make a big change to your energy usage. This is doubly true when you change out your decorative holiday lighting to LED technology.
#10 Insulate Your Pipes
While you should insulate the pipes outside of your home to prevent them from freezing and hurting your home, you should also cover any exposed pipes inside your home. Doing so prevents heat loss and helps maintain proper water temperature, which is a substantial cause of high heating bills in winter.
#11 Wear Warmer Clothes
Here’s the most boring tip on the list, and it’s directly tied to #1. If you’ve lowered your thermostat and people complain about the cold, encourage them to put on a sweater and socks at home. As we’ve discussed, the point of these winter energy-saving tips is to keep your family comfortable while lowering your heating energy usage. Thus, investing in some blankets or having people wear more clothes at home will allow you to keep the thermostat on low temperatures all winter long.
Lower Your Winter Energy Bills with Chariot Energy
There’s a chance you’re still paying a lot for electricity and gas even if you put all of these tips into action at home. If this is the case, it probably means you’re paying too much per kilowatt-hour of energy. Check the kWh rate on your most recent energy bill and then visit ChariotEnergy.com to see if we have cheaper rates in your area!
Additionally, you can learn more energy efficiency tips for your home at Chariot University so you can stay warm this winter and cool when summer arrives.