Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Winter officially arrives next month, so now is the time to begin making preparations to help you save energy and money. Use these tips for some no-cost, low-cost ways to ensure maximum savings.

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. Close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Cover Drafty Windows
  • Apply clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Check your local hardware store for this film, which is cut to size and applied to the window with heat from a hair dryer.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty.

Adjust the Temperature
  • When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Most people find that 68 degrees is a comfortable setting during the winter.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat down even further to save more energy. A programmable thermostat can easily automate this process; if you have one, use it to your advantage.

Find and Seal Leaks
  • 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.
  • Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

Maintain Your Heating Systems
  • Schedule a service check-up for your heating system.
  • Check your HVAC filter once a month and replace as needed.
  • Do not cover vents or return registers with furniture or rugs.

Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open when there is no fire allows warm air to go right up the chimney.

Lower Your Water Heating Costs
  • Water heating can account for 14% –25% of the energy consumed in your home, so turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).

This article includes information from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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