Did you know there are some simple and inexpensive fixes you can make to your home to ensure that you’re not wasting energy and heat during the cold, blustery winter months? Here are X winter saving energy tips for every budget and a free printable to create your own customized Winter Energy Saving Plan.
It doesn’t matter if your home is 50 years old or 5 years old, it can still be leaking energy and heat during the cold, winter months.
For months now, my husband has been on a mission to make our home more energy efficient. He’s been researching ways to save energy and prevent heat loss in our home. Half of our home is over 50 years old and the other half is less than 5 years old. We were able to make improvements in all areas of home that are saving us money and energy.
We did a walk through of our home and created a customized winter energy saving plan (you can download the free printable at the bottom of this post).We came up with a comprehensive list of areas to tackle and I broke them down by area. Regardless of your budget, there are changes you can make today that will help you save energy (and money) this winter.
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities. I am a Project Envolve Ambassador and have received product/compensation to facilitate this post. This post may also contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Winter Energy Saving Plan (for every room of your home)
During the colder months, check to see where your home is loosing heat. On the morning after a frost, look at the roof of your home and take notice of areas where the frost or snow may have melted. This indicates heat loss in those areas. You can also use a thermal leak detector to find air leaks and drafts.
In every room:
- Turn down your thermostat in rooms/areas that you are not currently using. If you leave your home during the day, turn down your heat. Studies show that by turning your thermostat back by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save up to 5-15% per year on your heating bill. We have a programmable thermostat that allows us to set the times and temperatures we want.
- Install foam socket sealers to prevent cold air from coming through your outlets.
- Use inexpensive window film or window insulation kit to air seal windows that are not energy efficient.
- Seal any air leaks around exterior windows and doors using caulk, spray foam insulation and/or weather stripping.
- Use insulated curtains and/or blinds to keep warm air in.
- Check for air leaks at the base of exterior doors. Use draft sealer to prevent warm air from escaping.
- Switch to LED lights. Not only will will they save energy and money but they are brighter and last a lot longer than incandescent lights.
- Use a Kill A Watt meter to assess how efficient your appliances and electronics really are. You can find power-wasting appliances so you are able to decide whether it is worth keeping them plugged in.
- Eliminate standby energy usage by using a smart power strip
Main Living Area:
- Close the flue on fireplaces when not in use. Or, install a chimney balloon to prevent heat loss when not in use.
- Turn your thermostat down. You can save about 1-3 percent per degree, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For extra warmth, use an extra blanket on your bed.
- Remove window air conditioners during seasons when not in use.
- Use a small space heater. Rather than turning up your thermostat to warm up a bathroom, use an energy efficient space heater to provide extra warmth when needed.
- Check for air leaks around your exhaust hood. If you find air movement (like we did) you can install a back draft damper to fix it. This is the one we used.
- Use residual heat – When you’re done using your oven, leave the oven door slightly open to allow the warm air into your home.
*Preventing energy and heat loss in your attic is by far the biggest bang for your buck. Since warm air rises, addressing energy loss here will save you the most in the long run. Before tackling any of these fixes, you should address any pre-existing problems such as roof leaks, old wiring, etc.
- Seal air leaks with caulk and/or spray foam insulation. Seal up any penetrations – such as wiring, duct work, vents and pipes. Be sure to also seal where the ceiling and the top of the walls meet (known as the “top plate”).
- Check for adequate insulation and add extra if necessary. Check the recommendations for your climate zone. It is important to seal any air leaks before adding insulation. Check with your electrician before insulating on or around light fixtures as this can cause them to overheat.
- Ventilate. Make sure you have adequate venting in your attic, including ridge and soffit vents. While this may be a more costly fix if your attic isn’t already vented, the energy savings will pay off in the long run. It will also help with ice damns on your roof edges in the winter.
- Check your attic door (or drop hatch) for air leaks. We installed a tent on our drop hatch attic door to insulate ours.
- Make sure your rim joists are insulated. Use rigid foam (not fiberglass) to insulate and use caulk or air foam insulation to air seal. My husband removed our un-faced fiberglass insulation and replaced it with two inch rigid foam. We cannot believe the different this has made.
- Check the filter in your furnace. Change if necessary.
- Seal the sill plate (if accessible) with caulk.
My husband has been tackling different energy-saving projects for several months now and the savings are really starting to show. So far, we estimated that we have saved more than 20% on our energy bills and we our home is more comfortable.
For tips on saving energy during warmer months, check out this post.
FREE Winter Energy Saving Plan Checklist
Here’s a printable winter energy saving plan checklist to help minimize the loss of heat and energy from your home this winter.
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