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Winter Energy Saving Tips


Heating can be among the more expensive components of your utility bill when you live in an area like Minnesota or Wisconsin, where drastic temperature fluctuations are a fact of life. Fortunately, you can substantially lower your energy costs by making some easy adjustments in your home.

Here are ten tips that can help you reduce costs and energy consumption while staying cozy in your home this winter.

1. Keep tabs on sunlight

In any season or climate, sunlight is a crucial factor in controlling the temperature in your home. During the winter, open your curtains on the south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. When the sun goes down, close your window coverings for additional insulation to keep the heat inside.

2. Cover drafty windows

Putting clear plastic film over a window creates an insulating layer of air that is almost equivalent to adding an extra pane of glass. It helps reduce drafts, retains heat more effectively, and prevents condensation from building up on your windows.

3. Upgrade your insulation

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to inadequate home insulation that lets heat escape in the winter. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that properly insulating and weatherizing your home can reduce your heating needs by up to 30 percent. The most common sites of heat loss in homes include access hatches, fireplaces, electrical outlets, ducts, plumbing penetrations, windows, and doors. To make sure you’re not losing money to drafts, have these areas properly inspected and add insulation where it’s needed.

4. Adjust the thermostat 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees for eight hours each day. So, when you’re asleep or away from home, turn your thermostat down to a cooler temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to automatically adjust the temperature of your home at times you’re typically asleep or away.

5. Maintain your heating systems

Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will help them function more efficiently, reducing energy consumption and helping you save money. Keep your heat registers clear and check your furnace filter monthly, replacing it when it gets dirty.

6. Only heat the rooms you use

If you have rooms in your home that are rarely used, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to increase energy efficiency by directing the flow of air to the rooms you occupy most. Also, avoid heating areas of your home that are not well insulated.

7. Use your ceiling fan

Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient, and you can use your ceiling fans strategically to circulate heat. Since hot air rises, in the wintertime you can run your ceiling fan in reverse (typically clockwise) on the lowest setting to gently push warm air downward. This will help heat the room more evenly and keep the room warmer with less strain on your heating system.

8. Lower your water heating costs

Check to see what temperature your hot water heater is currently set to. If the setting is high, turn the temperature down to a warm 120°F. You’ll not only save energy, but you’ll also reduce the risk of burns.

9. Avoid using kitchen and bathroom fans 

Hot air typically rises to the ceiling of your home, and exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom can pull it right out of your house. Therefore, use exhaust fans sparingly, and shut them off when you’re done.

10. Bundle up

This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning your thermostat up, put on a few layers with a cozy sweater and some slippers. If you’re relaxing on the couch, cover up in a warm blanket and sip on a hot beverage. You’ll be warm in no time!

The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation.

U.S. Department of Energy. (2021, December 31). Energy Saver: Start 2022 with an Energy Resolution to Save Money and Energy All Year Long.

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