Every season brings unique challenges to the home, but the wintertime is egregious for increasing your energy bills. As we enter the thick of winter, energy-saving strategies are more valuable than ever.
Some think saving energy means installing expensive equipment and taking on big home improvement projects. This doesn’t always have to be the case.
Homeowners can use a wide range of strategies to save energy during the winter, ranging from simple tricks to DIY projects. In this article, we’ll look at these strategies to help you save energy during this winter season.
Here are five things you need to know about saving energy at home in the winter:
- Adjust your thermostat: Set it to the lowest comfortable temperature when you’re home and lower it when you’re away or asleep.
- Weatherproof your home: Seal air leaks around windows and doors and ensure that your attic and walls are properly insulated to prevent heat loss.
- Use energy-efficient lighting: Replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, which use up to 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer.
- Use your curtains: Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let sunlight in and warm your home naturally, then close them at night to retain heat.
- Maintain your heating system: Schedule annual maintenance for your furnace or boiler to ensure it is operating efficiently and replace air filters regularly to keep it running smoothly.
For more winter energy-saving tips, please continue reading.
Energy Consumption in the Winter
Why do we tend to consume more energy in the winter anyway?
The simple answer is that people are inside more often in the winter. This might seem obvious, but think about it – it’s too cold to be outside, so not only are we cranking our heaters to keep warm, we’re using TVs, computers, chargers, and other electronic devices all day long.
This uptick in overall energy usage is unavoidable, but homeowners still struggle to keep their monthly utility bills low. Average residential energy usage is about 602 kilowatt hours each month.
This is over 200-kilowatt hours more than the summer, costing homeowners about $106 a month. While these stats can be daunting, we can use plenty of tactics to decrease energy usage during the winter.
Let’s look at a few tips, tricks, and projects homeowners can use to save more energy.
Winter Energy Saving Tips
Easy Energy Saving Tips
As mentioned, you can save energy without big projects or expensive investments. Sometimes it’s as easy as changing some lifestyle decisions.
Here are a few tips that all homeowners can do to be more energy efficient without costing you any money whatsoever.
1. Turn Down Thermostats
This is the low-hanging fruit of all energy-saving tips. Turning your thermostat down will lower your energy bills, but it’s easier said than done.
Try getting some warm blankets or warming up your home with a thermostat during select points in the day. Fight the urge to constantly crank the thermostat and find alternative ways to keep more heat in the house.
2. Run Fans in Reverse
This unorthodox method helps put warm air back into circulation. By turning on the fan and producing cool air, warm air gets circulated back into your system, allowing your home to retain some heat for longer.
3. Shut the Fireplace
Your fireplace is an often-overlooked place for letting warm air escape and allowing cold air in. While attics and windows are big culprits, shutting your fireplace when unused can help you retain heat more than you think.
4. Don’t Block Vents
Sometimes you end up putting a shelf or a desk over a vent without thinking about it. Ensure these vents aren’t blocked so that every room can feel the warm air.
5. Let the Sun In
We understand that the winter months don’t produce much sun, but when it does, it’s free to get some natural light and warmth in your room! Peel back the curtains on a sunny day to get as much natural heat as possible.
6. Do Big Laundry Loads
Being smart with your laundry is a great energy-saving strategy that doesn’t have much to do with heat. If you only do big loads, you can save energy by running the washing machine a few times a week.
7. Don’t Stuff the Dryer
Overworking your dryer is a culprit of high energy bills. Try and separate a few pieces of clothes or towels and let them air dry instead of stuffing the dryer. This will lead to shorter dryer usage and lower energy consumption.
8. Use Power Strips
Forgetting to turn off devices and electronics can waste energy usage. If you connect a few of these devices to a power strip and turn the strip off at night, you’d be surprised how much you can save!
DIY Energy Saving Ideas
But what if you want to take bigger chunks out of your winter energy bills? Maybe you’re itching for a DIY project that doubles as a home energy saver.
For those looking for a few simple but effective ways to save energy, here are the best DIY energy saving ideas for your home:
9. Weatherstrip Windows
Light a stick of incense and hold it by your windows on a windy day. If the smoke is moved by the draft, you can weatherstrip those windows to seal those air leaks.
You can caulk some potential cracks from the outside, then apply weatherstrips from the inside to keep your room from feeling drafty.
10. Warm Your Heaters
You heard us right. If you’ve got an older water heater that feels warm to the touch, it might be time to insulate it with a blanket.
Shop for a pre-cut insulating blanket kit and wrap the blanket around the heater and apply tape. Doing so can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill!
11. Seal Your Outlets
Did you know that heat and warm air can escape through your outlets? Luckily, you can apply precut foam gaskets behind your outlet to prevent such leaks.
12. Low-Flow Showerheads
Your showerheads might be producing higher flows than you really need. This can eat away at your electricity and heating costs.
Low-flow showerheads can help lower those heating costs when installed in your bathrooms.
13. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Your windows aren’t the only areas that leak warm air in the winter. Check your doors, plumbing, vents, and other areas for air leaks. Use caulk and weatherstrips to prevent heat loss.
Read our review on the best caulk for air sealing.
14. Adjust Your Dryer Vent Hose
Do you know that big aluminum vent that connects your dryer to your wall? You can actually trim off some excess material to make your dryer more efficient, meaning your clothes can be dried faster.
Energy Saving Investments and Projects
If you’re looking for long-term investments to save energy for your home this winter and beyond, these projects might be for you. While they’re more expensive, time-consuming, and involved, they provide consistent energy-saving benefits that extend well beyond the winter.
15. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are more sophisticated versions of traditional thermostats that have features ranging from basic scheduling and programming to multi-stage systems and even control over ventilators and dehumidifiers.
They can find optimal temperatures and heating schedules for your entire home and can often be controlled using a mobile app. While scheduling when a thermostat goes off and on isn’t groundbreaking technology, it’s hard to understate how much this can save you on your energy bills.
Look for ones that can be programmed to turn on or off when you leave the house and detect humidity in the air to find the optimal temperature setting.
16. Attic Insulation
Attic insulation is a tried and tested method of keeping the heat in your home during the winter. Because warm air tends to move upwards, the heat generated by your home ends up in the attic more often than not.
If the attic isn’t insulated, this causes warm air to escape through the roof. This not only results in wasted energy but also damages your roof and creates mold, causing more problems in your home.
Get a free attic inspection and quote to insulate your attic.
You can insulate your attic in a variety of ways. Roll or batt insulation can cover large surface areas with a spacious attic. You can use blown-in attic insulation to cover tight spots in your attic, like in between pillars or pipes. Reflective attic insulation can also “reflect” heat back to its source.
Whichever method you choose, attic insulation is an excellent way of keeping your home temperature steady throughout the year, especially in winter.
17. Solar Panels
As the world warms up more and more to the idea of solar panels and cleaner energy, there’s no better time than now to invest in solar panels.
Solar panels are a great investment for lowering your utility bills if you live in a particularly sunny area. It transfers sunlight to cleaner energy, and you can get plenty of rebates from your local utility providers by installing these panels.
Some incorrectly assume that a cloudy day means no energy for solar-powered homes. Solar panels can still receive diffused or indirect sunlight even without visible sunlight. An average home gets about 2 hours of sun daily, which is more than enough to help you save on energy bills.
While some are intimidated by the expensive installation and maintenance costs, remember that you can get costs back through federal income tax credits. You can slash some of the initial installation cost, combined with local rebates and Solar Renewable Energy Credits.
There’s no denying that solar panels are investments, but considering how they can be effective for 25 years for about three and a half years of paying back the initial costs, we’d say it’s a good energy-saving option.
Slash Winter Energy Costs Today
There’s no “one size fits all” method for lowering energy costs.
Instead, there are dozens of methods homeowners can use to save energy. Whether it be preventing heat loss, capitalizing on free sunlight, or being smarter with their home appliances, there’s plenty of opportunities to go around.
Use this article to find the best winter energy-saving strategies for you!