Unless you enjoy living in a dark icebox, the winter months can be a real drain on your wallet, especially if you’re still reeling from holiday shopping. But keeping warm doesn’t mean you might as well throw money on a bonfire (seriously, don’t do that). Our colleagues at Consumer Reports, along with the Department of Energy, have the following energy-saving tips that could save you money while keeping the heat and lights on.
• Replace Your Most-Used Lightbulbs: Consumers who replace just five of their most frequently used lightbulbs with energy-saving ones can save up to $75.
According to CR, LED bulbs save the most money and prices are coming down now that the technology is more widely used.
• Use A Smart Thermostat: Households that use a programmable thermostat to raise or lower the temperature depending on occupancy can save at least 10% a year on heating and cooling costs.
To recoup those savings, owners should turn the heat down when they aren’t home or in parts of their homes that are less frequently used.
• Let The Sun In: Just because it might be a frozen tundra outside, doesn’t mean the sun isn’t still providing warmth. CR suggest opening your curtains during the day to let the sunshine in.
Of course, the amount of sunlight that makes it inside a home depends on your windows. Those that are dirty or may have air leakage can deplete that extra warmth.
Still, CR found that energy star-qualified windows can lower your energy bill by 7% to 15%.
• Keep Air Moving: Always keep your heating and cooling systems in running order by checking your furnace filter monthly and replacing it every few months.
• Replace Old Appliances With Energy Star Models: While replacing an appliance just to save a few dollars on your energy bill isn’t exactly productive, if your appliances are outdated or simply stop working, CR suggests you look into energy efficient options.
Appliances account for nearly 20% of electric bills, so taking advantage of energy-saving machines – which can use 10% to 15% less energy and water than standards devices.
Keep Energy Costs Down When Temperatures Drop [Consumer Reports]