Five ways to fight the winter chill and save energy
Courtesy: Abby Berry, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
We all have our favorite season. Some people love crisp, cool weather and bundling up under a favorite blanket, while others prefer the warm temperatures summer brings and all fun outdoor activities that go with it.
But there’s one thing we can all agree on: high winter bills are never fun. Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric is here to help you find ways to manage your home energy use and keep winter bills in check.
Here are five tips to help increase your home’s energy efficiency this winter:
1. Mind the thermostat. This is one of the easiest ways to manage your home energy use. It is recommended to set your thermostat to 68 degrees (or lower) when you’re home. When you’re sleeping or away for an extended period of time, try setting it between 58 and 62 degrees; there’s no need to heat your home when you’re away or sleeping and less active.
2. Button up your home. The Department of Energy estimates air leaks account for 24% to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling a home. Caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors is another simple, cost-effective way to increase comfort and save energy. If you can feel drafts while standing near a window or door, it likely needs to be sealed.
3. Use window coverings wisely. Open blinds, drapes or other window coverings during the day to allow natural sunlight in to warm your home. Close them at night to keep the cold, drafty air out. If you feel cold air around windows, consider hanging curtains or drapes in a thicker material; heavier window coverings can make a significant difference in blocking cold outdoor air.
4. Consider your approach to appliance use. When combined, appliances and electronics account for a significant chunk of home energy use, so assess how efficiently you’re using them. For example, if you’re running the dishwasher or clothes washer, only wash full loads. Look for electronic devices that consume energy even when they’re not in use, like phone chargers or game consoles. Every little bit helps, so unplug them to save energy.
5. Think outside the box. If you’re still feeling chilly at home, think of other ways to warm up—beyond dialing up the thermostat. Add layers of clothing, wear thick socks and bundle up under blankets. You can even add layers to your home! If you have hard-surface flooring, consider purchasing an area rug to block cold air that leaks in through the floor.
Winter months often bring some of the highest energy bills of the year. By being proactive about saving energy, you can increase the comfort of your home and reduce monthly bills. Visit Steele-Waseca’s website at swce.coop for additional energy-saving tips.