Here you’ll find strategies to help you save energy during the cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings.
Turn down –
Setting your thermostat at 65 degrees during the day and lowering it to 60 degrees when you’re not at home or asleep can save you hundreds of dollars a year. If you install a programmable thermostat, it’ll take care of that for you. You probably won’t notice the difference if you lower your thermostat by a few degrees but you will notice the difference in your heating bill.
Seal off -
Keep your heat where it’s needed by closing heating vents in unused rooms. If some rooms of your house do not have doors you can hang a quilted blanket or comforter across the doorway to keep the cold inside that room from escaping into the rooms you are heating. Make sure any open vents are clean and that furniture isn’t blocking them. Cover drafty windows by using a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during winter. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that still feel drafty after weatherizing. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Maintain Your Heating Systems
Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently. Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. For wood and pellet-burning heaters: clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance periodically with a wire brush. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly—approximately 1 inch—and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
Use Your Fireplace
Burning wood for heat is an easy way to lower your heating bill and it is also a quick way to heat up a room. If you spend most of your time at home in a certain room, make that room the one with the fireplace in it. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth for extra insulation.
Wear Layered Clothing
The best way to stay warm in the winter is to dress warmly. You may feel silly wearing a hat around the house but studies show that if your head is warm the rest of you will feel warmer too. Wear wool socks to keep your feet warm and layer long sleeves and sweaters – add layers when you are cold and remove them if you get too warm.
Utilize Heat That’s There Anyway
When you take a shower with hot water, keep the bathroom door open so the heated steam can penetrate the cold in other rooms. Don’t turn on the ventilation fan or it will quickly suck away the heat. Cooking on the stove or with the oven can also generate heat to help you stay warm.