There is absolutely snow way to deny it...winter months are cold. While putting on a sweater and wrapping yourself in a blanket as you cuddle up by the fireplace sipping hot chocolate is undoubtedly a beautiful and comfy thought with the season, you can't do that all day. The other 99% of the time, your home will need to be heated to ensure your and your family's comfort.
While it is possible to crank the furnace and blast your entire house with enough heat to forget what season it is, you will have a higher energy bill and leave your bank account out in the cold. Luckily, there are energy-efficient ways to stop Jack Frost from entering your home and strutting around like he owns the place without having your heating costs cause you to sweat like it's summer. These winter energy saving tips will help you remain warm without drastically increasing your heating bill.
If you want to keep your energy consumption and heating costs down while maintaining a comfortable temperature, you will want to maximize energy efficiency. While this doesn't mean turning your furnace off entirely, you should use small but powerful heat sources like heaters to support it. In addition, there are plenty of ways to keep the cold out without turning anything on. While there are many impactful ways to winterize your home, these small but effective winter energy saving tips can help lower your winter energy bills with minimal, if any, effort. Some of these winter energy saving tips can even be used in other seasons, further increasing their positive impact on your life.
While this is a winter energy saving tip that you should do before the cold winter months arrive, it's never too late to start. If it's part way through winter, you can still get it done and benefit for the rest of the season. When your door and window frames are properly lined, weather stripping keeps you warm by not letting small bits of the cold inside since it closes up air leaks. Not only does weather-stripping prevent heat loss and air leakage, but it also helps keep some pests out, improves your air quality and reduces outside noise, giving you all the more reason to do it. Best of all, this winter energy saving tip is straightforward to do and only takes a handful of minutes. Better yet, it only needs to be done once for you to be set for the entire season.
A programmable thermostat is also known as a smart thermostat, and it certainly lives up to that name. It might not be smart enough to help your kids with their math homework, but it can help lower the numbers you see on your energy bills. Taking full advantage of the capabilities of a smart thermostat to adjust your temperature settings is a great winter energy saving tip, as it can drastically lower your energy costs.
One thing you can do when you have a smart thermostat is lower your thermostat's temperature a few degrees when nobody's home to save power. You can also set it to go back up to more comfortable temperatures shortly before people return home, meaning that you have the savings from setting your thermostat low while ensuring everyone is comfortable when they are home.
If you're okay with wearing a heavier sweater, keep the thermostat a few degrees colder to save when you're home. While getting to the point where you'd be able to see your own breath is not needed, setting the thermostat a couple of degrees lower than you normally would is a great winter energy saving tip if you add an extra layer to your clothing.
Even with all of these winter energy saving tips, your furnace still does the bulk of the work when it comes to keeping your home warm in the winter. When you focus all your attention on surface-level temperatures and warmer layers, it's understandable to forget more minor details about your furnace, such as the filter.
The purpose of a furnace's filter is to capture lots of small particles in the air, such as dirt and dust. A fresh filter will keep these particles out of your heating system, allowing your furnace to run more efficiently. However, after capturing enough particles, your filter loses effectiveness. After a long enough time, a dirty filter becomes too clogged and is no longer effective. When this happens, it must be either cleaned or replaced to keep your furnace running at maximum efficiency.
Although each furnace and the filters they require are different, changing your furnace filter every three months is a generally accepted guideline. However, it is best that you check your furnace's manual or check online in order to learn what's best for your specific model.
Whether we're talking about traditional light bulbs or holiday lights, keeping lights on when they don't need to be is a waste of energy. This is especially true of incandescent bulbs since less than 5% of their energy goes towards creating light. While it may seem like an obvious winter energy saving tip to turn lights off before leaving a room (you probably remind your kids of this sometimes), it's easy to forget in a lapsed moment of judgment.
There is a common thought that all power sources will immediately stop all energy usage waste once turned off. This is incorrect, as many pieces of equipment instead turn to a type of standby mode where they continue to use energy. Many of these devices are things like computers, gaming consoles, DVD players and other entertainment devices that spend very little time on. Completely unplugging these is a solid winter energy saving tip that can likely lower your utility bills by a dollar or so per device. While this might not seem like very much, added up over a long period of time, this can become quite a significant amount of money, especially given that this piece of advice can be followed year-round.
It may seem like all kilowatt hours are equal. However, this is not the case. Using electricity during peak hours (the hours when electricity demand is at its highest) is much more expensive than using the same amount of electricity as during off-peak hours (hours when electricity consumption is at its lowest). Generally, on-peak hours are when businesses are most likely to operate at full capacity, with off-peak happening when many people are asleep, at least on weekdays.
While this might seem like a way for power companies to charge you more for the same thing, you can turn this around and take advantage of it to save money without lowering your energy use. Waiting until off-peak hours, or even mid-peak hours, to use some of your most power-hungry devices, such as washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, is a great winter energy saving tip. The three types of hours are below.
Please note, however, that each of these times is subject to change in future years and is different at different times of year. These are the current times of use for each peak level for November 1 - April 30 in Ontario, and are accurate as of October 2023. Here is a link to current peak hours of electricity usage.
Two of the biggest energy hogs in your home are your washing machine and your dryer. While you can't (or more accurately shouldn't) stop using these entirely, there are winter energy saving tips you can follow to lessen the amount of consumption that these machines cause. In addition to using them during off-peak hours, as explained above, you can lower the amount you use these devices without cleaning fewer clothes. If you wait an extra day or two to do laundry, the number of loads you'll have to do throughout the colder months will lower. For this reason, a great winter energy saving tip would be to wait until you have a slightly larger load of laundry before washing it.
Another way to save money is to turn down your water heater. While the notion of a cooler shower during cold months might not sound very exciting, it will save you a lot of money. Your water heater is another machine that increases your energy usage when left to its own devices since water heating is so difficult and inefficient. Many water heaters are set to 60 degrees Celsius by default. Even though it would be silly to eliminate hot water completely from your home, recently, many people have been bringing their water heaters down as low as 50 degrees to save money, since the things you used heated water for, such as showering and cleaning clothes and dishes can still be done with water at this temperature. This can ultimately save well over $100 dollars annually. If you feel that 50 degrees is too cold, a winter energy saving tips is to set it to a temperature like 55 degrees to try and get the best of both worlds.
Curtains are for more than decoration. They can help keep heat inside your house. During the night, this is great, as it will likely warm your home a couple of degrees. Similar to how a dollar saved is as good as a dollar earned, a bit of heat kept in is as good as a bit of heat made. For this reason, closing your curtains will keep some of that precious heat inside your home.
However, this winter energy saving tip isn't as easy as just keeping your curtains closed all the time. Unlike at night, during the day, you're going to want to open up your curtains, at least on a sunny day, to let some natural heat in. Letting the sun (or at least some heat and light coming from the sun) into your home will warm it up a little bit.
This might seem like a counter-intuitive winter energy saving tip at first glance. "Wait, aren't fans designed for summer? Don't they lower the temperature?" Well, usually they do, yes, but not always. Ceiling fans work differently. Although the savings ceiling fans offer in the winter are less than in the summer, they're still worthwhile. In the winter, however, you should switch the direction of your ceiling fan from counterclockwise to clockwise. You should also set it to the slowest speed available. This will cause the cold air to go up to the ceiling, displacing the warm air that naturally accumulates up there and sending it back down to your level. More hot air on your level will make everyone feel warmer, increasing the temperature and reducing the stress on your furnace.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.