It’s no secret that energy bills go up when the temperature goes down. Nobody likes to be cold in their own home, which means paying more for heating—unless you follow these tips that can keep your energy use down in the cold of winter.
The obvious tip you’ve heard is to turn your thermostat down, because of course that will use less energy and lower your bills. But there are plenty of ways to save energy without turning the thermostat down—and there are lots of ways to make your home just as cozy when you do.
We’ve all heard that we can wear layers in the winter to avoid turning the thermostat way up. Warm clothes and plenty of blankets on hand will keep you close and cozy enough to turn the thermostat down a degree or two, which can save 5% of your usual energy usage.
The layering trick works for your house, too. Add rugs to help keep heat in and keep your feet from feeling too cold on hard floors.
Make sure your vents are uncovered. Move furniture away from vents to make sure the heat can circulate properly. And consider closing vents in upstairs rooms that aren’t used often. Since hot air rises, you can let the warm air from the first floor make its way up to naturally help heat upper floors.
Curtains that block light and heat are a great choice for extra insulation on windows. They help keep heat in and cold out, which is exactly what you want. Keep them closed at night and open during the day to get as much sunlight (and heat) as possible
It’s not just the cold that’s uncomfortable in winter—it’s the dryness, too. Using a humidifier in key rooms can make the same temperature feel warmer and more comfortable, which means you can stay happy with your thermostat turned down a couple degrees.
There are many ways cold air can get in, and just as many ways for heat to get out. Make sure to caulk all leaks you’re aware of and check again for the ones you aren’t.
In addition, make sure bigger “leaks” aren’t happening, like a chimney flue or garage door left open to the cold.
It isn’t just the furnace that gets extra use in the winter. Most of us make the water heater work double time, too. Two of the biggest energy drains are the washing machine and the shower.
For the washing machine, use the cold water setting whenever possible. You (and your clothes) probably won’t notice a difference in the outcome, but you very well may notice the difference in your energy bill.
And even though it can be hard to step out of a nice hot shower in a cold winter, installing a low-flow showerhead and cutting off just a couple of minutes can have a big impact on your hot water usage.