Winter is a season where energy costs tend to rise due to increased power and gas usage to heat the home and power devices. Saving on energy bills is a big concern for many people throughout the winter months. Reducing energy use is not only good for your utility bills, but can also make a positive impact on the environment in reduced carbon emissions.
Summer and winter are the seasons where energy use typically spikes, and energy savings during the winter can be particularly important for savings on frequently high power and gas bills. Whereas running an energy draining air conditioner in the summer is more or less a comfort choice, heating in the winter is an absolute necessity. Meeting your home heating needs while keeping energy costs at a reasonable level can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to make this happen.
- Slowly Raise the Temperature
When turning on the thermostat, increase the temperature slowly rather than cranking it up to a high level immediately. Raising the temperature quickly activates the heat strip, which can expend a lot of energy at once. Set the thermostat to a lower temperature and gradually raise it.
- Keep the Thermostat at 65-68 Degrees
Keeping the thermostat at these temperatures will help maintain consistent warmth, but not overload your furnace and drive up your energy costs. During the day, you can often offset furnace generated heat by letting natural sunlight heat the home. If you are leaving home for an extended time, keep the thermostat set to a lower temperature–60-63 degrees. Never turn it completely off in the winter.
- Limit Use of Portable Heaters
These supplemental portable heaters are expensive to run. They can drive up your energy bills, are inefficient for wide range home heating, and can pose a fire risk. These heating devices can be effective for ‘spot’ heating, but as a primary heat source are incredibly inefficient.
- Change Furnace Filters & Don’t Obstruct Vents
Keeping the filters changed in your furnace will help improve the efficiency of the system and improve the heat distribution throughout the house. Furnace filters should be inspected and changed every 1-3 months. If you have pets, you may need to change them more regularly. Also, be sure that nothing obstructs the vents around the house to inhibit heat distribution.
- Cover Bare Floors
Surprisingly, bare floors, such as hardwood or concrete, contribute to heat loss in the house. Depending on how much floor insulation exists, a lot of heat can escape through the floors.
Covering bare floors with carpeting or rugs can help retain heat circulating through the house.
There are a lot of other measures you can take to conserve energy and make your home more efficient during the winter. Maintaining and addressing inefficiencies in water heaters, lighting, appliances, windows, and roofing are also important ways in which you can make your home more energy efficient year round. Getting your home to this point is an ongoing process, but one that can pay off in appliance reliability and energy savings throughout the year.