How to Conserve Energy in the Winter: 7 Tips to Follow
As temperatures plummet during the winter, the quest to stay warm often results in higher energy consumption. However, striking the delicate balance between comfort and efficiency is an achievable goal. From regularly changing air filters to sealing doors and windows, HVAC.com provides simple tips on how to conserve energy in the winter and keep your utility bills in check.
How to Lower Heating Bills During the Winter
1. Replace Air Filters Regularly
Regularly replacing your HVAC system’s air filter is a crucial part of HVAC maintenance that helps conserve energy and lowers heating bills during the winter. Air filters play a pivotal role in the overall functionality of your system by trapping dirt, dust, pollen, and other contaminants.
Regular air filter replacement – every 2-3 months or as per the manufacturer’s guidelines – prevents restricted airflow. This safeguards your system from working harder and running longer cycles to reach the desired temperature, lowering your energy costs.
2. Use Smart or Programmable Thermostats
Lowering your thermostat while asleep and away from home is a simple way to conserve energy. According to the Department of Energy, homeowners can save about 1% on monthly energy bills for every degree the thermostat is lowered over eight hours.
Smart and programmable thermostats make adjusting your thermostat easy by allowing you to preset the temperature based on the time and day of the week. For example, you can preset the thermostat to 60-62 degrees between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. while you’re at work and have it automatically adjust to 68-70 degrees so you return to a warm and cozy home.
With a smart thermostat, you can also adjust the thermostat remotely and receive monthly energy reports to show when you’re using the most energy so you can make energy-efficient adjustments.
3. Utilize Ceiling Fans
Though commonly associated with cooling, ceiling fans can aid in winter warmth. Reversing the motor to rotate clockwise at a low speed creates an updraft that pushes warm air near the ceiling down to living areas. Although ceiling fans don’t actually produce heat, by pushing warm air toward the occupied space, you can keep the thermostat a degree or two lower for increased winter energy savings.
4. Seal and Weatherize Doors and Windows
Keeping the cold air outside and the warm air inside is a crucial step in lowering energy bills during the winter. Seal gaps around window frames and doors by applying weatherstripping around the edges to create a tight seal to prevent heat loss.
Foam sealant or caulking is ideal for filling larger gaps. According to ENERGY STAR, sealing homes and adding proper insulation to floors, attics, basements, and crawlspaces can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs.
5. Consider Energy-Efficient Upgrades
The Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits for energy-efficient upgrades, including installing insulation or transitioning to an energy-efficient electric heat pump. These energy-efficient upgrades can help lower your energy costs. Visit CleanEnergy.gov to explore available opportunities.
6. Use Curtains Effectively
Harness natural sunlight by opening curtains or blinds on south-facing windows during the day to provide additional warmth. Come evening, close them to prevent radiant heat loss due to warm indoor air coming into contact with cold window panes. Insulated curtains are ideal to prevent heat loss and maintain a comfortable indoor environment during the winter months.
7. Dress Warm and Use Blankets
When the temperature dips well below freezing during the winter, it’s tempting to crank up the furnace. However, this isn’t a good idea, as your furnace will struggle to keep up with the heating demands and could malfunction or overheat. Constantly running a furnace will also cause your energy costs to skyrocket. Instead, consider layering your clothes and using blankets, and setting the thermostat a couple of degrees lower.
By incorporating these energy-saving practices, you will stay warm during winter and save more of your hard-earned money.