Can You Enjoy a Warmer Winter Without Increasing Your Energy Use?
Excessive Energy Consumption in Winter
Home heating costs keep soaring yearly, creating a budget concern among American homeowners. In 2022, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association forecasted each home would pay an average of $1,328 for electricity in the winter of 2023 — a 17% increase from the previous year’s power consumption.
Because people need to stay warm and cozy indoors, the heating system operates for nearly 24 hours. While it’s necessary for survival, homeowners are getting more concerned about the rising energy costs and the impact of constantly running appliances on the environment.
So this brings the question, “Is it possible to keep warm and save on bills?” The answer is a big yes — and there are several options to do so. Here are the workarounds to keep your family warm during winter, minus the skyrocketing bills.
Maximize Passive Solar Heating
The easiest way to warm your space is to take advantage of the sun. Doing so doesn’t require any complicated upgrades or installations. All you have to do is open your windows during the day to allow warm air inside and improve circulation.
South-facing windows capture the most heat, so don’t block the sun by placing tall plants directly in front of them. In addition, run your ceiling fan counterclockwise direction — it circulates more warm air by pushing it down.
During the night, close the blinds to trap heat indoors. If you can, invest in thermal-lined curtains. They’re made of several layers of fabric and microfiber that provide a wall between your home and the cold outside air.
Insulate Various Home Areas
While it’s ideal to boost insulation from the roof to the foundation, such a move requires a considerable financial investment. The average cost of home insulation is between $3,000 and $10,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
If you lack the budget, simply insulating your doors and windows is energy-saving and pocket-friendly. Here are some hacks.
1. Put a Plastic Film or Bubble Wrap Over the Window
You can save up to $20 per window every winter by merely putting a film over your window. If you have five windows, you can put a potential extra $100 toward other expenses.
The process to do this is straightforward. Use tape to secure the plastic to the edge of the window frame. Then, fix the film to the window using a hair dryer.
2. Add Caulk and Weatherstripping
It’s easy to add caulk to your windows. Make sure to cut the tip of the tube to the same size as the gap between the wall and the frame. If you have double-hung windows, weatherstrip them with a V seal.
3. Install Cellular or Honeycomb Shades
This solution may be more expensive than the first two, but they can last for years. Installing honeycomb shades can save you as much as 15% of your yearly HVAC energy use. They just take a bit of measuring and drilling.
Weatherstripped doors can also prevent heat loss, warming up your space during winter. Follow these tips to insulate them.
1. Tighten the Screws and Fittings
Check if the doors’ fittings have come loose, which can happen with time. The door must hang appropriately in the frame.
2. Install Weatherproofing Strips and Seals
Self-adhesive strips are the easiest way to seal gaps between the door and the frame. Meanwhile, you can use a weather seal on the bottom of the door.
3. Hang Heavy Curtains on the Entry Doors
At the back of the entry doors, mount a curtain rail on top to hang thick curtains. You can take this down after winter. Remember to do the same for your garage door using rigid foam boards or other similar materials.
Use Smart Thermostats
Modern households are becoming technology-driven. By leveraging advancements, you can control energy use. A great example is a thermostat.
Smart thermostats are designed with sensors, algorithms and machine learning capabilities. When sensors detect someone entering the home, the thermostat automatically turns on and adjusts to the occupants’ optimal cooling or heating temperature.
With use, it can remember the best time to heat the home during winter, saving you 8% on heating and cooling bills or $50 per year. They’re also convenient, as you can control them remotely through an app and voice commands in some models.
Use Energy-Saving Mode on Appliances
Your choice of entertainment during winter — which may include a TV, game console or computer — can also add up on your bills. Hook them up to a battery saver or turn on low power mode when operating in this setting is possible. For instance, you can turn your laptop into power saver mode if you only do data entry tasks and don’t need the high-resolution video feature. By implementing this simple change, you can save up to $30 a year on energy bills.
Switch to LEDs
Lighting accounts for about 15% of your entire home energy use, which is considerable. Swapping to quality LED fixtures will result in huge savings since they use 75% less energy and last more than 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Besides their low energy consumption, LEDs are more durable than traditional lighting. They’re made of epoxy lenses — not glass — increasing their resistance to breakage. More importantly, their longer life span makes them good for the environment, as they emit less carbon.
Layer up Indoors
Another simple, sustainable winter practice is to wear warm clothing at home to reduce the need for heating. Wearing thick winter clothes will preserve your body’s natural heat, decreasing your reliance on electricity to warm up. You’ll have to apply the same hack when sleeping — ensure you cover yourself with a layered blanket.
Enjoy a Warmer Winter at No Extra Cost
Power bills shoot up during winter due to the extensive use of the heating system. Fortunately, you can enjoy warm, cozy evenings without increasing your energy use by harnessing the sun’s power to heat your home, insulating any openings where heat can leak and switching to a smart thermostat. Save hundreds of dollars yearly using these simple tips to prepare your home for winter.