Simple no-cost or low-cost changes can make a noticeable difference in a winter utility bill.
Energy Information Administration data shows that heating and cooling make up more than
40% of the average household’s energy costs. As a result, two identical homes in the same city – with the same type of insulation, windows, appliances and lighting – could have vastly different energy expenses simply because of the way they’re operated.
Start with replacing the air filter on your home furnace and scheduling a maintenance appointment if needed. Make sure furniture isn’t blocking heating vents, check for air leaks and consider your home’s insulation needs. With those steps taken care of, it all comes down to the daily choices you make.
Additional behavioral changes can include:
Adding an extra blanket and lowering your temperature settings. Try reducing the nighttime setting by 8 to 10 degrees to reduce heating costs by about 10%. This is even easier to do with a programmable thermostat.
- Taking care of infiltration. Make sure windows are tightly closed and locked, caulk and weather strip around windows and doors, insulate electrical outlets on outside walls, and consider sealing windows with heat-shrink plastic.
- Turning down the water heater to between 115 and 120 degrees to reduce energy costs by as much as 10% – or more, if showers are shorter. Add jacket insulation for the water heater and pipe wrap for additional savings.
- Washing clothes in cold water and cleaning the dryer’s lint trap with each use.