Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Give cool weather the cold shoulder this winter with these energy-saving tips that will make your home a haven from the brutally cold temperatures and the envy of the block.

  • Keep heat inside. Let insulation blanket your home so the heat stays inside. In effect, insulation acts like a heat barrier, preventing warm air from escaping through the walls. And when it remains inside your home, you stay more comfortable. Hire a professional to assess the insulation in your attic, walls, basement and crawl space to ensure it meets the recommended levels for your area.
  • Retire your old furnace. With enough insulation in the home, turn your attention to your furnace. If your home doesn’t stay warm even though you’ve upgraded home insulation, hire a pro to assess its condition. It may be time to give it a tune-up, replace a part or retire it.
  • Seal it up. If you haven’t checked your home for air leaks, now’s the time to stop cold drafts from deciding how comfortable you’ll be in your home. Arm yourself with weather stripping and caulk, and put a stop to leaks around window frames, plumbing pipes, and the attic.
  • Run a humidifier. As outdoor temperatures become cooler, the air gets drier. The same goes for your home. Run a humidifier in your home to increase the humidity, and it will make you feel warmer, too.
  • Use ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans default to the cooling mode, but if you run the blades in a clockwise direction, the fans enhance heating. In this way, the fan pushes warm air at the top of the room upward, and then outward, better distributing heat around the room and encouraging consistent temperatures. Just be sure to run the ceiling fan on low to avoid generating a chilly draft.
  • Encourage heat gain. In the summer, it’s important to prevent heat gain. In the winter, however, heat gain is ideal. Use drapes to your advantage, leaving them open to let heat from the sun into the home during the day. Close the drapes at night to stop cold drafts.
  • Check the air filter. Every month, check the air filter and change it when it’s dingy. A full filter can’t trap particles that move through it, and it can also put stress on the furnace’s blower if it restricts airflow.
  • Don’t block registers. Let the full capacity of airflow move through your home by keeping registers open. Avoid blocking registers with furniture, drapes, etc.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Maintain consistent home temperatures with a programmable thermostat, and save energy at the same time. Set the thermostat to 68 to 70 degrees during the day, and then set it back while you’re sleeping. Experts estimate that you can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill by setting the temperature back by 10 to 15 degrees at night for at least 8 hours.
  • Fire it up. Use the fireplace to stay warm, but once you’re done, close the damper. Leaving it open lets heat find its way out of the home via the flue.