30 ways to cut your energy bill this winter
Energy bills can skyrocket during the coldest months of the season, thanks to poor insulation and rising energy costs. Fortunately, you can cut your heating bills by making a few smart adjustments to your daily routine. If you’re not sure where to start, the following tips can help.
1. Lower your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting
Dropping your thermostat down just one degree can lead to a 3% decrease in your monthly utility bill. Additionally, the US Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68°F for optimal comfort and savings.
2. Clean your heating system filters
Replace fiberglass filters and wash aluminum mesh filters. Keeping your filters clean helps your furnace run more efficiently while protecting you against particles.
3. Check your air vents for obstructions
Your furnace won’t help much if your vents are blocked! Check that they’re open first. Then, remove any clothes, shoes, or chilly pets that may like to lie on top of the vent.
4. Open the drapes
Yes, opening your drapes can help lower your bills. Open them on sunny days in the morning to take advantage of the sunlight. As the sun sets, close them to retain heat.
5. Leave storm doors and windows closed whenever the heater is on
Double-check for gaps or cracks that might let warm air escape unintentionally.
6. Drop your heat down while you’re out
If you’ll be gone for a day or two, consider lowering your thermostat to 60°F. That way, you aren’t heating your home unnecessarily. However, if you have pets, consider leaving it a little warmer for them.
7. Close wall or floor heating registers and shut the doors in unused rooms
If you have rooms you don’t use very often, there’s little reason to actively heat them. Closing the registers and doors directs warmer air to rooms you use more often, making distribution more efficient.
8. Check the label on your water heater
Make sure it’s energy efficient. If you have an older water heater that isn’t energy efficient, start thinking about a replacement. This can be an expensive purchase, but efficient water heaters can save you some money in the longer term.
9. Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise
Yes, your ceiling fan can warm you up if you set it to rotate clockwise. This can help warm the area immediately under it and prevent you from dialing the heat up.
10. Insulate all pipes running in and out of your water heater tank
Place an insulated blanket around older water heaters.
11. Lower your water heater to the vacation setting
If you plan to be gone two or more days, putting your water heater on low or vacation can prevent it from warming water without reason.
12. Wash laundry in the coolest water possible
Make sure to use full loads as well.
13. Install a low-flow showerhead
Low-flow showerheads can reduce your hot water use by 50%–70%.
14. Don’t run your dishwasher unless it’s completely full
This is a good idea during any season, but it’s especially so in the winter.
15. Replace your table lamps with compact fluorescent lights
This can help you save up to 75% on light use.
16.Try using one large bulb instead of several smaller ones
Larger bulbs tend to be more efficient than multiple smaller bulbs. As a bonus, try using LED lighting to save even more energy.
17. Switch to tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs
This can sometimes cut your lighting costs by as much as 15%.
18. Use low-watt light bulbs anywhere lighting isn’t critical
There’s little use in having a ton of light in spaces you don’t often use.
19. Install dimmer switches throughout your home
While this may be a larger project, dimmer switches can help you control how much light you use.
20. Place hanging and floor lamps in corners
Your walls can help reflect light energy, dispersing heat more effectively.
21. Shut off electronics and lights whenever no one’s home or in the room
This is an easy one, but it’s also easy to forget. Additionally, consider purchasing smart outlets that reduce the use of phantom energy.
22. Set your fridge and freezer temperatures properly
Keep freezer temperatures at 0–5°F. Keep refrigerator temperatures at 36–40°F.
23. Wait for cooked meals to cool to room temperature before placing them inside the refrigerator
This will reduce the work your fridge needs to do to keep everything cool.
24. If possible, keep your refrigerator away from direct sunlight, heating vents, the dishwasher, and stove
While this may be challenging or impossible in some cases, keeping your fridge as far away from these things as possible will help it run more efficiently.
25. Keep your freezer as full as you can
This helps prevent cold air from escaping when you open the door. However, avoid overloading it.
26. Defrost your refrigerator and freezer
Whenever frost becomes a quarter-inch thick, you should defrost it for better effectiveness.
27. Plan your meals so you can cook everything in the oven at once
Cooking everything in one shot reduces energy consumption and heat escape. Don’t open the oven door until your food is completely finished cooking.
28. Consider reheating leftovers in the oven
Conventional ovens are often more economical than microwaves. When it comes to reheating takeout food and leftovers, use the oven if you have the time.
29. Defrost frozen food before baking or microwaving
Defrosting frozen food before heating it can reduce energy use from your oven or microwave by as much as one-third.
30. Use your dryer properly
Don’t overload your clothes dryer and make sure to clean the lint filter after every load.
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