Saving Energy In Winter
Importance of Reducing Energy Use
Cold weather forces your heating system to work harder. That oftentimes leads to increased bills in winter months. These tips will help keep your energy bill down.
Free Ways to Cut Heating Waste
Use Your Windows & Doors Efficiently
- Keep your windows and doors closed to keep the heat in. This includes interior doors to garages and unheated basements.
- Open blinds and shades on sun-facing windows to let the sun warm your home.
- Close blinds and drapes on windows that don’t get direct sunlight to keep the heat in.
Manage Your Thermostat
- Set your thermostat back a few degrees and dress a little warmer. Each degree you lower your thermostat will save about 2% on heating costs.
- Lower the temperature on your thermostat when you are away or asleep. This simple step can have a big impact on your heating bills. If you have a heat pump, only lower the temperature by 3 degrees for maximum efficiency. If you have any other type of heat, consider turning the heat down to 63 degrees or lower at night and using extra blankets.
- If you have a heat pump, let it run as needed. Ue a programmable thermostat to set the temperature to match your daily routine. A programmable thermostat will operate your system to maximize savings while keeping your house at the temperatures you want.
Help Your Furnace Out
- Go with the flow: Help the warm air flow by keeping decorations, window coverings, appliances, and furniture from blocking heating registers. Avoid using air filters designed for supply vents – they also reduce airflow.
- Clean or replace your furnace filters monthly. Clogged filters make furnaces work a lot harder to distribute heat, increasing heating costs and shortening the life of your equipment.
Stop Wasting Heat on Empty Rooms
- If you have zonal heat, only heat the rooms you are using. Turning the heat on for the entire house is a waste of valuable heat. Close the door to rooms you aren’t using/heating.
Low-Cost Ways to Cut Heating Waste
Get Rid of Drafts
- If you feel a cold draft coming in, that means warm air is escaping. Sealing air leaks around windows, doors and plumbing penetrations to keep the heat in will cut energy waste. If you heat with electricity, ask our Energy Experts for a free whole house air leakage test to find out where air sealing may be needed.
- Turn off exhaust fans 15-20 minutes after cooking and bathing.
Stop Fireplace Heat Waste
- An open fireplace wastes a lot of heat. A fireplace will draw warm air up the chimney and out of your house, forcing your heating system to work harder.
- Close your fireplace damper when it’s not in use. (Be sure to wait a few hours after the fire dies.)
- Check your fireplace damper periodically to ensure it closes tightly and works properly.
- Install glass doors on the front of your fireplace to limit warm air loss.
- Install a fireplace insert for more efficient heating.
- If you don’t use your fireplace, close your fireplace damper and weatherstrip around it, or install a chimney balloon.
Use Space Heaters Wisely
- If you have central heat, consider using a space heater in your bedroom at night, instead of running the furnace to heat the whole house. A space heater uses 1,500 watts of energy, and an electric furnace uses at least 10 times that much.
Choose the Right Window Coverings
- Choose drapes and curtains that are lined to maximize heat retention in winter. Those same curtains will help block heat out in summer.
- Choose tight fitting, insulated window coverings. Generally speaking, the tighter your window coverings fit, the more effective they will be at keeping heat in and cold out.
Maintain Your Heating System
- Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for annual maintenance and tune-ups for your heating system.