I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but in ours it just became winter! We’ve had temperatures in the ’30s, frost warnings and trips to the attic to dig out winter coats and gloves!
In this post, I’ll share 4 easy energy saving tips for winter that you can implement right away
Why Save Energy?
Before I dive into the energy saving tips for winter, let’s chat about the bigger picture for just a sec, k?
According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2015 US homes on average used 43% of their total energy use on space heating. That’s a big chunk – and one that is worth exploring ways to conserve!
So, next time you hear the heat click on or feel the warm air start blowing from the vents, give some thought to the source of the energy being used to make it all happen!
I mean, what kind of energy is used to light the flame in your furnace? Or what type of energy is used to power your HVAC system?
In my case, we have a gas furnace that burns fuel (natural gas) to create heat but it also needs electricity to operate the motor and blower.
Natural gas is a non-renewable resource meaning there is a limited (although vast) supply on earth and when it’s gone, it’s gone. For me, it makes sense to at least be aware of what we are using and try to conserve if possible.
My electricity is sourced from a variety of resources but only about 6% of it is from renewable sources. Again, it makes sense to me to try to conserve the electricity we use since so much of it is generated using non-renewable sources.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR HOME ELECTRICITY, CHECK OUT MY POST “GET THE SIMPLE SCOOP ON YOUR HOME ELECTRICITY“
The bottom line, being aware of how your home uses energy and where that energy comes from is pretty important. I know it’s easy to just take it all for granted but it’s SO simple to make some small changes.
#1 Insulate Your Home
The first energy saving tip for winter is to make sure your home is properly insulated. This can take the form of a bigger, possibly expensive project, or a quick, easy fix.
First, many utility companies offer a free home energy audit. I think it’s worth it and something we did for our home.
Keep in mind there are likely to be a variety of recommendations that will cost you…but will probably pay for themselves in energy savings in the long run. A quick call or website visit to your local electricity provider will likely provide some options available in your area.
The second, simpler option is to, on your own, make sure you take care of any drafty windows or doors.
For windows, make sure they are closed and locked securely which will keep them tightly sealed to keep cold air out. When I did this I was surprised that on many windows the top sash had slipped down a bit leaving a crack at the very top of the window. Pushing it back up allowed me to lock the window and create a draft-reducing seal. Easy, right?
For doors, consider using simple draft blockers that you can pick up online or in retails stores. They are easy to use and store once winter is over. Many include loops on each end that you can use to hang when not in use – or you can do what my family does – just kick them to the side! 🤣
I prefer a draft stopper that fits my decor AND is made with materials that are sustainably sourced.
Unfortunately finding an eco-friendly draft blocker proved to be a little challenging. However, I did, of course, find some DIY draft blocker tutorials on Pinterest!
This one from So Much Better With Age is adorable and uses dried beans as the filler. Just use organic cotton fabric and you are good to go (in my book!).
If you’re not up for a DIY project but still want to block the draft, here are a few options you can purchase!
#2 Clean Your Filters
Next up on the energy saving tips for winter is to keep your furnace/AC filters clean!
A few years ago when our furnace stopped blowing warm air, I embarrassingly, called a repair person to come to take a look.
Fortunately, it was just a dirty air filter and easy to fix – but I did get an “education” about how important it is to make sure you have a clean filter. Oops!
Think about it, if the filter is dirty the system (heat or AC) has to work harder to maintain the temperature you set the thermostat to, so it’s running more often. And that means it’s using more energy!
So now that you (and I) will be keeping our filters clean to save energy (and money!!) you can go one step further and reduce the waste you create with disposable filters and switch to a reusable version.
I like these washable furnace filters and have 2 for each system so I’m always ready with a clean one when it’s time to take out the dirty one! They come in a variety of sizes too!
#3 Manage Your Thermostat
The #3 energy saving tip for winter is to efficiently regulate your indoor temperature is by having a plan for your thermostat. No more willy-nilly, random adjusting the temperature! And, in my house, my teens are the worst culprits!
If you have a programmable thermostat, great! If not, manually adjusting works too – you just have to make sure you remember to do it!
If you are like me you may have had a programmable thermostat for a while but haven’t gotten around to actually programming it! So, familiarize yourself with your thermostat. If you have to, dig out or go online to find the user’s manual for your model.
We have this programmable thermostat which is really easy to use – and affordable.
If and when we do replace our thermostat, I’d love to upgrade to a Nest thermostat.
When you do you program your thermostat (or set it manually), here is a general guide for winter settings for a family with adults and children that are out of the house all day for work and school:
- 68°F about 30 minutes before the family wakes up
- 56°F to 58°F at the time the family typically leaves the house
- 68°F about 30 minutes before the family starts arriving at home
- 56°F to 58°F once the whole family has gone to bed (and is bundled in warm pj’s and blankets!)
Try out these settings and see how they work for your family. You may have to play a little with the timing and the exact temperature but being aware of it is a good first step!
#4 Use the Drapes & Blinds
And the last energy saving tip for winter is to keep the drapes and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and provide some warmth.
Not sure which way is south? Get your kids to help you figure it out! Many smartphones either come with a compass or you can download a free app.
Make it your kids’ task to make sure that the drapes on those windows are either open or closed each morning depending on what season you are in. Easy, right!!?
So there you have it – 4 easy steps to get you going on the right track to conserving energy and saving money this winter!
Oh wait, I forgot the best one! Get the whole family together for some snuggling on the couch in front of a fire – fuzzy socks and cozy blankets required! Enjoy!