It’s winter. It’s cold. The holidays have you feeling flat broke. Here are a few tricks to stay warm and save on your energy bill this winter
Seal up gaps and cracks around doors and windows
Carefully check around your doors and windows for gaps and cracks where a draft may come in. It’s shocking how much cold air can permeate through those tiny cracks. Caulk around the outside of windows and you’ll notice a difference. For under-door gaps, try either a temporary or permanent draft stopper or weatherstrip.
Use window coverings efficiently to help heat your home
Open all blinds and curtains in the morning to let the sunlight pour in and warm the house. A little while before the sun goes down, shut all of the blinds. You will be surprised at the barrier this creates, especially if your windows are thin. If you have curtains, close those as well. For winter, the thicker your curtains the better.
Call your electric company to check for discounts
So many of us just set up auto pay and never log in again — a big mistake! Many electric companies offer one or multiple discount programs. These can be either income based, rewards programs, or discounts for saving energy at peak-hours of the day. They’ll have other promotions going on too. For example just the other day I got an email from our local energy company (SDG&E) for a free energy saving water kit including a brand new shower head.
Turn down the water heater
Even if you like hot showers, the factory setting on most water heaters is usually much hotter than necessary. Turn your water heater down to save energy (and avoid accidentally burning yourself!)
Gotta keep ‘em separated
Close off any unused rooms in the house and keep them closed. For example guest rooms, basements, attics, etc. Close any heat vents in those rooms as well. This will avoid heating unused areas of the house and will redistribute the heat to rooms where it’s actually being used.
It’s worth mentioning that using the microwave and toaster oven will use less energy than a full sized oven so opt for the toaster oven whenever possible. When you do use the oven, avoid preheating if you can. (Preheating often isn’t necessary!) When you’re done and have turned the oven off, remember to leave the oven door cracked open… you paid for that heat so get your money’s worth and warm up the kitchen!
Switch ceiling fan direction in the winter
I didn’t even know this was a thing until this year. In the winter, switch your fan so it rotates in a clockwise direction. Make sure it’s at a low speed. How do you switch directions? There should be a little switch on the body of the fan (See photo below). When the fan is going counterclockwise it blows air down at you. When it’s going clockwise, the fan distributes the hot air that’s near the ceiling outward and down, so save counterclockwise for the summertime.
And of course, adjust the thermostat
Just a notch or two — you can hack it! Throw on a hoodie and those fuzzy socks your aunt gave you for Christmas. Also, make sure you’re only heating your home when necessary. Especially when you’re asleep or out and about, make sure to lower your thermostat. You also may want to consider springing for a smart thermostat. You can program it to warm up the house at certain times of the day (maybe right before you get home?) plus if you’re forgetful, you can adjust the temperature from your smartphone after you leave the house.
What are some of your energy-saving tips? Let us know on Facebook so we can all stay warm and save money and energy this winter!