Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

During the last few months of the year, energy bills can skyrocket, especially here in Minnesota.  Here are some Fall and Winter energy saving tips for you to use in your home.

These tips will help you save energy and money and stay comfortable during the cool fall and cold winter months.  Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.

If you haven’t already, do an energy audit to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.

1.  Take advantage of heat from the sun.  

  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

2.  Cover drafty windows.

  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months.  Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to reduce air leaks.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulated drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.

3.  Adjust the temperature.

  • When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.  A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set your temperature back on a timer.
  • If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

4.  Find and seal leaks.

  • Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

5.  Maintain your heating systems.

  • Schedule service for your heating system.
  • Furnaces and heat pumps: replace your filter once a month or as needed.  Find out more about maintaining furnaces or boilers and heat pumps.
  • Wood- and pellet-burning heaters: clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heater efficiently.

6.  Lower your water heating costs

  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees F).  You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.
  • Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.

These Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips were excerpted from Energy.gov, an office of the U.S. Department of Energy.