Summer is a distant memory, fall leaves have fallen, and winter is in full swing. But with crisp fall air and beautiful changing leaves comes the dread of a higher energy bill. Between heating costs and a seasonal switch to more indoor activities, it's safe to assume that you'll be budgeting a little more for utilities. However, there are many things you can do to cut down on energy consumption during the fall and winter months, and most of them require little to no effort at all! Here are a few simple ways to save energy and money this winter.
Tweak Your Thermostat Settings
Constantly changing the temperature of your thermostat can make it feel like you're fighting a losing battle. This is especially true in the fall when the temperature can go from cold to hot within just a few short hours. Keep your thermostat set to a constant temperature that feels comfortable, instead of switching back and forth between on and off throughout the day. You can also set your thermostat to change throughout the day at specific times, so you can rest easy knowing that heat isn't wasted while you're gone during the day.
Tune-Up Your Heater
The best way to deal with heater problems is to prevent them in the first place. Give your heater the checkup it deserves to make sure that everything is in working order. This also includes changing the filter, if needed. Being proactive when it comes to preventative maintenance can also help prevent a more costly repair down the road.
Drafts aren't just annoying; they can also be a huge energy drain as they let heat flow freely from your home. Do some investigative research and hunt for any drafts, caulking as needed. Be sure to check for any cracks or gaps in windows and baseboards, too. Consider shrink-wrapping your windows for the seasons, and don't shy away from weather strips and door sweeps. And on that note, feel free to close any heat vents that you don't typically use, such as spare rooms, vents under furniture, or rooms with multiple vents.
Turn off the Lights
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but forgetting to hit the switch on your way out of a room is a bad habit we can all admit to every now and then. Keep your power bill low, and remember to turn the lights and other electronics off when you leave.
Close the Curtains
It may seem counterintuitive to close the curtains when there isn't any light to block out, but closing the curtains in order to keep the warm air in and the frigid air out can be more helpful than you think. An investment in some insulating blackout curtains can add up to save you big time over the next few winters.
A Bright Idea
Making the switch to LED lightbulbs won't just save you money this winter; they'll save you money for years to come. Just to give you an idea, incandescent light bulbs can last up to 1,200 hours, while LED light bulbs can go for a whopping 25,000 hours! Not only do they use less power, but they also last longer and leave a smaller carbon footprint, helping both your wallet and the planet.
It can be hard to save money on power if you don't even know you're losing it in the first place. Be sure to unplug any electronics or charging cords that aren't actively in use. The same goes for kitchen appliances like toasters, blenders, and coffee machines.
Rethink Your Laundry
There are plenty of ways to cut down on your energy consumption as you clean your clothes. For starters, opt for cool or cold water over hot. Be sure to only do full loads of laundry, or make sure your washer is turned to a setting with lower water use based on load size. If you aren't already on the high-efficiency washer train, consider taking the leap with EnergyStar-approved appliances. Don't forget to change your lint trap, as a full lint trap can force your dryer to work harder than it needs to and take longer to dry. And if it's not quite too cold outside, take advantage of the fresh fall breeze and give line-drying a try.
There's a reason our pets love to bask in the sunlight as it pours in through the window. It's warm and toasty! Instead of resorting to your thermostat at the first sign of a chilly temperature, consider opening the blinds to let some natural light in. This way, you can rely on some help from the sun to let the light in and heat your house the natural way.
Rather than cranking up the thermostat, warm up the cozy way and layer up! Keep spare blankets throughout the house and get into the habit of dressing in layers. There's nothing better than the feeling of cozy socks, and using a good blanket to combat the chill of a winter day is a surefire way to cut back on energy that would have otherwise been spent via the heater.