Knowing how to save energy in winter is a must, especially as weather has the single largest impact on your energy bills.
In fact, you can spend up to $100 more a month, just on certain types of heating alone.
To give you a basic idea on how to save energy in winter, you first need to know what types of appliances around your home are using the most energy.
- Cooling and heating: 47% of energy use
- Water heater: 14% of energy use
- Washer and dryer: 13% of energy use
- Lighting: 12% of energy use
- Refrigerator: 4% of energy use
- Electric oven: 3-4% of energy use
- TV, DVD, cable box: 3% of energy use
- Dishwasher: 2% of energy use
- Computer: 1% of energy use
If you prefer to learn through visuals, we have pulled an amazing infographic by Visual Capitalist below:
Clearly cooling and heating are the two major energy sucking vampires on our list. Unfortunately, this means in summer and winter your bank account (and the environment) are going to suffer the most.
However, studies do show that energy consumption in winter is higher than in summer.
This could be due to the fact that in many areas of the world, heating in winter is essential for survival, whereas cooling in summer is more of a luxury/convenience.
So let's dive straight into it, how can you save energy in winter?
10 tips on how to save energy in winter
With these 10 tips we hope to save you tons of energy during the cold winter months.
As heating is one of the main drivers of energy consumption, many of our tips are going to teach you how to keep the heat in during the winter months.
By keeping the heat in, your heater will have to do less work, which means it will consume less energy!
1. Cover windows that allow too much airflow
Cold wind drafts are still able to penetrate through poorly insulated windows. You can help keep in the heat by taping a heavy-duty, or clear plastic sheet to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Always make sure the plastic is sealed properly/tightly against the frame.
After you have weather proofed your windows, you will want to install tight-fitting, shades, or insulating drapes on all drafty windows.
There are various websites that can educate you on other methods of window treatments, such as this one: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-attachments
2. Adjust your homes temperature
When you are awake and moving around inside your home, set your thermostat as low as you are able to handle (comfortably).
When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back, by doing this you could save up to 15% a year on energy (heating) bills.
To make this process more streamlined, you could think of installing a smart thermostat which can easily set your temperature back for you.
3. Fix old faulty wiring
It doesn’t matter if its summer or winter, faulty wiring can increase your energy bill at the end of every month. Since the number of appliances needing power increases in winter, you can often catch issues caused by old or faulty wiring more easily.
The easiest indicators of faulty wiring are flickering lights, especially when certain appliances like a heater or hair dryer are running.
If you have faulty wiring, we always recommend that you hire a professional electrician to look into the issue for you. Especially since damaged wiring can be quite a serious health hazard.
The largest indicator of wiring problems is flickering lights, especially when an appliance like a hair dryer or space heater is running, or a noticeable change in the function of your home’s large appliances. A professional electrician should always conduct wiring inspections in your home, especially as old wiring may not be safe or up to code.
4. Make use of the powerful sun
The sun is our biggest source of free energy, in fact the sun produces the equivalent of 384.6 septillion watts per second.
Even in winter the sun comes out to play (sometimes), when this happens make sure all curtains on your south-facing windows are open during the day to allow natural sunlight to enter your home. And ultimately heat it.
Another tip on how to save energy in winter would be to plant deciduous trees on the south facing side of your home. They will allow light and warmth to enter your home during winter and will shade the windows in the summer.
5. Reduce heat loss from your fireplace
If you do not have a fire burning, make sure that you keep your damper closed. An open damper (without a fire burning) is like opening a window and allowing freezing air to enter your home. This happens because warm air rises, and open damper allows this warm air to escape right up the chimney.
When you have a fire burning indoors you can reduce heat loss by opening the dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if they come provided), if not simply open the nearest window a tiny bit, approximately 1 inch and close any doors leading into that room. Then you can follow by reducing your thermostat temperature to between 50° and 55°F.
If you never find yourself using the fireplace, we would recommend that you plug and seal the chimney flue.
If you do end up using the fireplace install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system which can blow warm air back into the room.
Another tip would be to buy grates made of C-shaped metal tubes, this can draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into your room.
6. Use a space heater
If you only need t heat a small room in your home, it made be better using an electric space heater.
An electric space heater is a very energy efficient way to keep your home warm as there is no heat loss through ducts or combustion.
Space heaters are perfect for heating smaller closed-off areas that you don’t necessarily need to spend a large amount of time in, such as your garage or bathroom.
However, when it comes to heating larger areas, or even your entire home, space heaters are much less efficient than a natural gas furnace or a geothermal heat pump.
Another idea would be charging a Bluetti AC200P 2000W solar generator via the sun, and then running your electric space heater off of your generator rather than your homes power grid.
7. Use LED lighting
There is no doubt that LED lighting is a smart choice for all homeowners, they use 75% less energy than standard incandescent lights and last 25 times longer.
Now, if you are planning a complex award winning Christmas light show this holiday season, you could save a lot of energy this winter by using LED lightning.
With LED lights, you will have to spend a little more upfront. However, LEDs are incredibly long lasting, you could even expect your children’s children to be using the very same string of lights 40 Christmases from now
Just some side information for you, LEDs use such a little electricity, you could connect up to 25 strings end-to-end without overloading a standard wall socket.
8. Layer up
This one may seem like a no brainer at first, and warranted it probably is. However, did you know that the body can lose heat in 5 ways: evaporation, convection, conduction, radiation and respiration?
The one we can avoid in our homes is convection: Heat loss by air or water moving across the skin surface.
Now, we usually just turn up the heater full blast to avoid losing heat through the process of convection. But there are two other things that get lost during this process: money from our bank and cities built along the coast.
It may not be necessary to wear the thickest/warmest winter jacket indoors, but perhaps wearing two extra layers will allow you to turn the heating system down a notch in order to save some energy during those cold winter months.
9. Wash your clothes at a lower temperature
Believe it or not, but according to Energy Star heating water consumes about 90% of the energy used to operate a washing machine. This means if you love washing your clothes on full heat, you are probably spending a lot of extra money during winter.
Our recommendation? Unless you have incredibly dirty clothes with oil stains and the likes, warm water isn’t really going to make a big difference on the final cleanliness of your clothes.
In fact, washing your clothes in cold water alongside the right detergent may even be beneficial.
Most modern day detergents are designed to work perfectly well in water of 86°F. So the next time you want to give your clothes a wash (especially in winter) wash them in cold water if you want to save on your energy bills.
10. Change the direction of your ceiling fans
Did you know that ceiling fans can actually save energy in winter? Seriously, they can, you just need to know how to make them save that energy.
In summer, you of course get to use your ceiling fan to cool down a specific room, whether that be the bedroom or the living room.
However, did you know that if you change the direction in which the blades of the fan spin, you can use it to warm those rooms up?
In 2015 Harvard University researchers found out that ceiling fans running in the forward direction can make your room warmer by using thermal destratification. Which basically means it forces the warm air down (remember heat rises).
All you need to do is set your ceiling fan to flow clockwise and then set it to its lowest rotational mode.
This will allow all warm air to be pushed back down to the surface once again. Allowing you to rely less on your thermostat and more on an energy efficient/energy saving solution to keeping your home warm in winter.
During the winter months, the average U.S. heating costs fall somewhere around $500 and $1,500.
Research also shows that people spend more time in their homes during winter, which is also a major factor on increasing energy bills. During these months you begin using appliances such as your TV, stove and showers much more than your would in summer.
The trick to saving energy in winter is being vigilant, and understanding where the costs are located in the first place. Once we understand that, we can make an affective plan of action to save as much energy as possible.
We hope these 10 tips help you get started with that plan.