As colder months roll in, energy costs typically go up. The days are shorter and may require more electricity to light homes; it's also colder and energy is needed to keep homes warm. However, according to energy.gov, there are a few tricks on how to save energy this winter, all while staying comfortable.
1. Prevent a Draft
Strong winter winds can lead to teeth-chattering drafts inside the home from leaky windows. Windows with broken seals and cracked frames can lead to chilly drafts and a rising heating bill. While repairing and replacing windows can cost a hefty fee, sealing your windows with plastic film is a cost-effective way to keep drafts at bay. Keeping your curtains closed at night can also help keep cold air from drifting into your home.
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It may be tempting to raise the temperature in your home a few degrees. But according to energy.gov, if you lower the temperature to about 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day, you can save nearly 10 percent on energy costs each year. You could do this while you’re sleeping or if you’re away from home during the day for long stretches of time. Having a smart thermostat is a great way to keep your home temperature running efficiently.
Setting your home to a lower temperature can also prevent heat loss from your home during the winter, according to energy.gov.
3. Heating Tricks
Besides sealing drafty windows and adjusting your thermostat, there are other low-cost methods to keeping your home warm. Keeping your curtains open to allow the sun in during the day can help keep your home warmer. But remember to close the curtains at night.
If you’ve used the oven to bake or cook something, leave the oven door open while it cools down. The heat will escape into your home.
Keep doors to basements and spare rooms closed if they aren’t in use. It's also helpful to close the grates and vents that lead into spare rooms to lower heat costs. Add a door seal to the bottom of doors to prevent cool air from creeping in.
4. Use Cold Water
Hot water can lead to some hidden energy costs, especially during the winter. According to energy.gov, setting your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can help cut costs and prevent scalding.
For your washing machine, wash clothes with cold water to save 75 to 90 percent on energy, according to GE Appliances.
5. Use LED or Battery Operated Holiday Lights
A fun part to winter is seeing all of the holiday lights. However, some can use a lot of energy. To cut energy costs on holiday decorations, use LED string lights or battery-operated lights. LED lights emit less energy and have a lower fire risk and are less likely to overload a wall socket, according to energy.gov.
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This article was originally published on Nov. 3, 2022 and has since been updated by the Discover staff.