This winter has been pretty wild, and we are only half way through it! During the most recent “polar vortex”, parts of the midwest experienced temperature swings of close to 100-degrees— and temps were still freezing! With such a cold winter, reaching for our thermostats and cranking up the heat has been a means for survival. That being said, a lot of energy is wasted in the winter trying to keep things warmer as we huddle inside. We are breaking down some easy ways to save energy this winter (and see the perks of it on your energy bill!) all whilst keeping warm.
Lower your water heater temperature
Your water heater is the appliance that uses the most energy in your home. Many manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140ºF, but for most households, this temperature is incredibly high and can actually leave you at the risk of scalding. By reducing the temp of your water heater to 120 ºF, you can save energy and money big-time. Also, consider installing a timer on your water heater. If your house doesn’t demand hot water at 3AM, there’s no reason to be running the heater then. That’s like tossing energy and cash straight into the bin!
Go big on laundry day
Maybe you do this already (hey, it can be hard to stay on top of laundry!), but hoard your dirty clothes because running cycles back-to-back is a great way to save energy. An already-warm dryer uses less energy to heat up and dryers require the second most amount of energy out of all your home appliances. Side note: remember to clean the lint trap! Not only is a full trap a severe fire hazard, but it also cuts down on dryer efficiency.
Seal air leaks
One easy and cheap way to save energy is to apply caulk around your windows. This keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Energy Star estimates that the average household could save approximately 20% on its heating costs by sealing up air leaks. Air leaks are not only a huge energy waster, they also leave your home at risk for structural damage because they allow moisture to seep into the walls and ceilings, which can lead to mold growth and rotten framing.
Insulate, insulate, insulate!
Insulation is the best way to save energy because it helps to keep temperatures consistent. This means that less energy is wasted trying to balance out the weather and your heating and cooling situation. No, we aren’t telling you to buy that pink industrial cotton candy that’s hiding between your home’s walls to insulate with. Here are some ways you can insulate without tearing down some walls:
- Most homes lose their heat through bare floors. If you do have bare floors, throw down some rugs. Not only will your room look stylish, but they will help insulate your floors.
- Curtains do a marvelous job at saving energy. In the winter, fabric curtains covering a window really works wonders at trapping in heat and halting the cool air that you feel when you stand next to the window on a cold day. In the summer months, not only do curtains block out sunlight that makes things warmer, but keeps your cool air in! Talk about an easy, year-round fix!
- If you have exposed pipes outside or have pipes in an unheated basement or attic, consider covering them with pipe insulators. If you live in a place where temperatures are regularly near or below freezing, take the extra precaution and throw a ‘jacket’ on those pipes to keep them from freezing!
Switch to energy efficient lights & bulbs
Shorter days mean we are turning lights on earlier and keeping them on longer. While lighting is a relatively inexpensive cost when it comes to your electric bill, lights do require a ton of energy. Invest in energy efficient LED or CFL bulbs. Not only will this reduce your lighting bill even more, but, it will have a huge impact on how much electricity you save!
When you make the effort to save energy, not only does your electric bill benefit, but so does our planet. Energy isn’t just something that comes out of thin air— it takes a lot of resources to keep your house powered up! This winter, do good on us and do your best to save energy where you can. We promise that all of these tips are easy to do, and will help you enjoy your winter that much more!