Winter energy efficiency tips often have less to do with your home’s heating system and more to do with your home itself.
By addressing leaks and poor insulation, you can take significant steps toward lowering your heating costs. The following strategies can save energy and money while still keeping you comfortable as the cold winds blow outside. Some of the tips are entirely free or inexpensive.
Take advantage of heat from the winter sun
Open the curtains on your home’s south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat the room. Close them at night to reduce the chill that can come from cold windows.
Cover drafty windows
Tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Seal the plastic tightly to ensure leaks won’t get through.
Tight-fitting, insulated drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty are a useful layer once you weatherize with the plastic films.
Adjust the temperature
When you are at home and awake, set the thermostat as low as comfortable.
When asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. This will save you around 10 percent per year on your heating and cooling bills.
Practice good maintenance
Regularly service your heating system. On furnaces and heat pumps, replace your filter every month or as needed.
Reduce heat lost from fireplaces
When not in use, be sure to close the damper on your fireplace. Keeping the damper open can be like an open window during winter. Warm air goes up the chimney.
If you use your fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system. This will blow warmed air back into the room.
Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.