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How to Save Electricity This Coming Winter

How to Save Electricity This Coming Winter
Written by Irina Vasilescu

In the summertime, your goal is to keep the inside of your home cool. You’ll also wear appropriate clothes, drink lots of water and fan yourself or turn up the air conditioning unit to keep your body cool. Come fall and wintertime, the temperature starts to go down so you would start layering clothes to keep your body warm.

For the interior of your home, your goal is to keep the draft out and maintain the warmth inside the rooms. But you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on gas or electricity to achieve this goal. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your house during the winter season, without having to spend a fortune on electricity bills. Find out what these ways are in the next section.

Top 12 Ways to Save Electricity This Coming Winter

Before counting down the ways by which you can save electricity during the summer season, let us first delve a bit deeper into why electricity usage will rise in the first place. As soon as temperatures begin to drop, you will stop using the air conditioning unit and start heating up the inside of your home.

Depending on whether you have a gas or electric heating system, your energy usage is bound to climb up because of the need for heat. You’ll also be using the hot water more to alleviate the cold, as well as other appliances in the house which generate heat.

There is a way to counteract this high electricity consumption during the winter months. It all starts by making sure that your home is winter-ready. Starting from insulating the hot water pipes to making sure that no draft escapes, there are a multitude of things that you can do to save electricity this coming winter:

1. Monitor your energy usage

There are a couple of ways for you to monitor your energy usage during the winter. First, you can do a manual monitoring by signing up for a time-of-use program. This can be done through your local utility company and is offered to consumers who use electricity during the off-peak periods. The only downside is that you might end up paying more if the utility company sees that you are using more electricity during peak hours.

The second option is for you to use an energy monitoring device. This costs around $140 which sound like a lot – but the end results will be worth it. The device helps determine what your electrical usage is on a real-time basis, while also allowing you to project your monthly bill. Research shows that such a device leads homeowners to consciously reduce their electricity consumption through constant monitoring.

Winters are a particularly expensive season electricity-wise so if you would like to save anywhere from 15% to 20% off your utility bills, use an energy monitoring device.

2. Make sure that your home is draft-free

According to the Department of Energy in the US, your energy use can increase from 5% to as much as 30% through drafts. This means that you should take all measures to ensure that your home is draft-free even before the winter season arrives. There are many ways for you to make sure that your home is draft-free.

The old-fashioned method of using a rolled bath towel under a door where draft can escape is an effective, zero-cost solution.

For windows, you can use a removable rope caulk or a formula that can easily be peeled off. This prevents the heated air inside the house from escaping. In the same vein, the cool air outside will not get in – unless you leave the doors or windows open. What’s good about using a rope caulk is that you can easily remove them if you need access to the doors or windows.

3. Boost your home’s insulation system

If you haven’t already done so, boost your home’s insulation system to save on energy during the winter season. Add more insulation between the walls, the attic floor, the roof and the basement ceiling. There are even states where low-income household get benefits from weatherization improvements on their home during wintertime, so check with your local government or energy agencies.

4. Make your home leak-free

This is similar to the previous item which is a way to ensure that your home is draft-free. To cut back on your electricity usage during the winter, you can inspect which corners cool or heated air can escape. Let’s say that there is an area in your kitchen which has a different building material from what was used to build the living room.

It is possible for the draft to escape here, so you can use a caulking or weatherstripping solution for the winter. You can also use the incense test where you can move a lit-up incense around the house. If the smoke seeps through, it means that you have to seal it with a caulk or a weather stipping solution.

5. Change the filters on your furnace

If you have dirty furnace filters, the heating appliance will work doubly hard and use twice the electricity. This means that in order for you to conserve electricity during the winter season, all you have to do is change the furnace filters. Make marks on your calendar to remind yourself when these filters need to be replaced.

You can also invest in a permanent furnace filter, something which reduces overall household waste and costs less in the long run.

Your other filter options include electrostatic filters which trap more than 85% of bacteria from the air; or HEPA-rated filters which remove more than 99.9% of airborne particles. Not only can you lower your electricity usage, but you can clean the quality of indoor air, too.

6. If you have a ceiling fan, run them in reverse

If you have ceiling fans, running them in a counterclockwise position will make the air warmer during the winter. By simply reversing the direction of the blades, the air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the room. This is an effective way of cutting your winter heating costs by as much as 10%.

7. Tune up your home’s heating system

Just like your car, your home’s heating system deserves a regular tune-up, especially once winter comes close. The tasks that you can do for this includes replacing furnace filters, keeping the system lubricated, making proper adjustments and cleaning the overall system. Fortunately, there are qualified technicians who can make annual check-ups if your furnace is still under warranty.

Just make sure to call in early because the HVAC technicians would have dozens of jobs lined up prior to the winter season. If you have an old heating system which is using up a lot of energy to operate, it might be worth the investment to replace it with an energy-saving model.

8. Turn down the thermostat by at least one degree

How many times have you heard this tip? Turning down the thermostat by at least one degree during the winter season is an effective way to lower your electricity consumption. Ideally, you can set the temperature to 68 degrees and for every degree that you lower the setting, you can save up to 5% on heating costs. Setting them even lower or turning the off at night will make you save even more money.

9. Consider installing storm doors and windows

If your house has the space for it, consider installing storm doors and windows. This can increase your home’s energy efficiency by as much as 45%. What storm doors and windows do is seal drafts, reduce air flow so that no heated air will escape outside, and you can easily uninstall them once the winter season is over. When buying storm doors and windows, look for ones with a high Energy Star rating.

10. Bundle up

What better way is there to feel the warmth during the winter season than by bundling up? You don’t want to feel too constricted when lounging by the fire inside the house, but there is no need for you to use excessive energy, either. By simply wearing weather-appropriate clothes and piling up the blankets at night, you can get the warmth that you need without having to use up a lot of electricity.

11. Rearrange your furniture to keep the heat in

An easy way to maximize heat during the winter is to rearrange the furniture so that you are sitting near interior walls. If the sofa set is close to an exterior wall or an old window, it’s most likely to be cold and drafty.

12. Get rid of phantom electricity wasters

Lastly, get rid of phantom electricity wasters – something that you should be doing not just in the winter but year-round. Phantom electricity is used up by appliances which are left plugged in or on standby mode instead of being completely turned off. To make it easier for you to turn everything off when leaving the house or turning in at night, use power strips so you only have to press one button.

Follow these tips so that you can keep your home warm during the winter, without having to use up an excessive amount of electricity.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

8 Comments

  • Thanks for the reminders to check out my heating system and change the filters. Little adjustments do save you more during the winter months. Since I primarily stay in a few rooms, I don’t crank the heat. I use a heating blanket, regular blankets, and sometimes a space heater. It saves me a bit too.

  • Awesome info, definitely thanks for posting this. I am a new mommy and my small family lives in a small apartment — but our electricity costs can be a bit startling. I am always looking for ways to conserve energy and keep our spending down. I think I will bookmark this article to show my fiance! Thanks again!

  • I never thought of rearranging the furniture. That is a new idea for sure. My electricity goes very low in the winter, thank the Lord. But when I owned my old house, the pipes were a big deal. As it said, insulating the pipes really helped me there. By the time the water would get from the water heater to the house, it was cold until we insulating them. I remember as a kid, my mother would put plastic sheets up along the doorways of unnecessary rooms to keep the heat in.

  • Lots of great tips here for home owners, but most renters won’t have the option to do much more than bundle up and put a towel under their door.

    My household has invested in an infrared heater to reduce our heating costs. Using that heater instead of turning on the very inefficient base boards will hopefully save us quite a bit by the end of winter.

    I would love to see an article on tips for renters. I know we are pretty limited, but any ideas I may not have thought of myself would be much appreciated.

    • This is basically what I do in my rented condo. I just leave the thermostat off and use a smaller space heater in the room that I intend on spending a lot of time in. So if I sit down in front of the TV for a while, I can just point the space heater at myself and remain reasonably cozy with a blanket. The rest of my place is pretty cold, but in this way I’m not wasting a lot of power heating areas of the place that aren’t currently being occupied.

  • Pertaining to number one, the fact of the matter is that people never look at their actual energy usage. They look at the dollar figure and are shocked, but most people don’t look at an energy usage graph. When you put the numbers against an actual usage graph, then things change. That’s when people start to realize they need to lower their energy usage moving forward.

  • I live alone in an apartment and find that turning down the thermostat does help quite a bit, however due to the number of large windows there still ends up being a lot of heat loss. Instead of having using the central air system I’ve taken instead to using a space heater for keeping an individual room warm.

    It works well when I know I’ll be in one spot for a while so that it has the time to warm the room up and maintain it. Kind of sucks to leave the room, but I guess that’s the price you pay for frugality.

  • Excellent article! Well, Storm doors and windows appeal to me. I shall try to install them this winter. Also, reverse fanning is a useful tip. You need to apply reverse current to make your fan run backward. I would call my electrician to do that for me. Your article pretty much works as a check list for a winter-proof home.

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