Winter not only serves up colder temperatures and shorter days, it also brings on higher energy consumption. Below are some simple and inexpensive ways to save energy and money this winter:
Energy Saving Tips Video
Lighting - The longer nights result in more lights being used.
Use timers on exterior lights to limit "on" times.Consider using LED lighting on exterior lighting (especially over the holidays).Get the whole family involved in turning off lights as they exit rooms.Switch your light bulbs over to CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LED (light emitting diodes) - they use 25%-80% energy.
Have your furnace professionally inspected annually to ensure it is running properly and efficiently. Replace the filters on the unit regularly. Replacement recommendations vary by filter used. Check the manual on the HVAC system for the recommended filter and replacement intervals.
Install a programmable thermostat to help control usage. Set the temperature lower during awake hours & while family members are away. (You can save as much as 10% a year on heating by turning the thermostat down 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting)
Drafts - Reduce the heat loss.
Caulk or use weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.Seal the air leaks around utility pipes entering the home & gaps around chimneys. For older windows consider using a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet over each window to help insulate during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Insulation Considerable energy is loss through your attic, so if you haven't checked your attic insulation, now is a good time. Insulation recommendations vary depending on where you live.
Use the Sun
Open curtains and blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the cold coming off the windows.
Ceiling Fans Change your ceiling fan rotation to a clockwise rotation during the winter to force warm air downward.
Phantom Power While still plugged in, small appliances and electronics can still use power. Unplug small appliances like coffee makers and toasters when not in use. For electronics like TV's, game consoles, etc. use a power strip that can be more accessible to turn off power to the outlet. Water heaters Save energy by turning down the water heater to 120 degrees. If the water heater is in garage or crawl space, consider a water heater insulation blanket for additional energy savings. Washing Machine Winter often brings more loads of laundry because of all those extra layers of clothing. First, run only full loads when possible. Second, consider running all loads on cold to save up to 75% of the washer's energy use.