Energy Saving Tips for Winter

by Anton Right on May 13, 2012

Before winter comes it is best to keep our homes prepared for the cold weather. The better we are prepared the more energy bills we can save. It doesn’t take too much effort to get prepared; we only need to follow a few easy saving energy tips. It doesn’t matter if the winter at the area where you leave is less cold than other areas, these tips will still help you to significantly save on your energy bill.

  • Make sure your heating system equipment (boiler, heat pump etc) is operating efficiently and is well maintained. It is a good idea to perform a yearly maintenance check-up on the heating equipment.
  • Install an ENERGYSTAR programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule the temperature of your house according to your way of living without manual intervention. In order to save energy you can turn down the temperature during the night and while you are at work. The thermostat should be appropriately located in an area where the temperature is the average temperature of your house. Do not place thermostats in direct sunlight, near the fireplace or in a poorly insulated room.
  • Depending on your house, install at least a two-zone programmable thermostat (or multiple zones if you have a big house). With two zones you can have different temperature settings in different sets of rooms according to your way of leaving. For example, during the night with a two-zone thermostat you can maintain a lower temperature at the ground floor rooms (kitchen, living room etc) and a bit higher temperature at the first floor rooms (bedrooms). During the day you can do the opposite.
  • For every degree you lower the temperature of your thermostat in the range of 60 – 70 oF (15,5 – 21 oC), you will save approximately 3 – 5% of the total heating costs of the house. Unless there are medical reasons, it is recommended to set your thermostat between 68 and 70 oF (20 – 21 oC), while you are at home and at around 55 – 60 oF (13 – 15,5 oC), depending on your preferences, while you are sleeping or when you are out of the house. If you leave the house for vacations or for an extended period of time turn the heating off.
  • If you have forced-air furnace, make sure you clean or replace the filters before you turn on the heating and then clean them regularly (once a month).
  • When you are in the house, wear warm comfortable clothing (sweater and socks) so that you will not need to increase the temperature of your heating in order to feel warmer.
  • Make sure your home is well insulated. It is best to consider insulating your house during construction or during renovation. In this way you can thoroughly insulate your house and maximize results. With good insulation, once your house reaches the desirable temperature it maintains this temperature for much longer period of time. This will significantly save your energy bills. If you decide to insulate your house you should consider insulating the walls and the roof and use high performance double glazed windows. In this way you achieve all around insulation.
  • Turn off the heating from rooms that you do not use. Make sure however that the doors are kept closed so that heat does not escape from other rooms into this room.
  • Always remember that in a closed room, warm air moves upwards and cool air downwards. So in a room, it is best your heating system is located near the floor (e.g under floor heating, or ground radiators) instead of using units near the roof (air-conditioning units).
  • Use a humidifier (particularly if you leave in a dry area) in order to add moisture into the air. With a humidifier, you will feel warmer and more comfortable even if you set the heating temperature at a lower level.
  • If your water or heating pipes are exposed to cold weather, insulate them with pipe insulation material.
  • If required, ask a professional to inspect and tune your heating system.

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