#1Thing: A Guide to Going Green This Winter

November 7, 2018

By Lori Melton

Winter is quickly approaching and while colder temps mean holiday lights, cozy fires and hot chocolate, all of that winter coziness can also create a spike in heating costs. Before the snow flies this season, you may want to consider these simple ways to save energy and money by going green this winter.

Fix Drafty Doors and Windows

Air leaks around doors and windows can cause your HVAC system to work harder to heat your home and cause warm air to escape to the outdoors. Fewer drafts will help you conserve energy and reduce heating costs. Applying caulk around doors and windows to fill in cracks is one easy way to stop drafts. Replacing worn weatherstripping around window and door frames is another way to seal leaks. You can also stuff a rolled towel at the bottom of doors to act as a draft stopper. Insulation kits, which usually contain sheets of plastic you apply inside window frames, are also an effective way to keep drafts at bay.

In some cases, if your windows are old and worn out, you might want to consider investing in new, energy-efficient windows. The cost may be sizeable up front. However, you should ultimately recoup your expenses with lower energy bills in the long run. Energy Star has a savings calculator for addressing air leaks.

Tune Up the HVAC System and Replace Air Filter

It’s always good practice to tune up your HVAC system as seasons change. In the winter, you want to make sure your furnace is working properly and replace the air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can bog down air flow and make your furnace work harder to heat your home. Installing a new, clean air filter will help save energy, improve air quality and reduce allergens and other contaminants in your living space.

Use LED Lighting

Daylight hours are shorter in winter, which means you’ll rely more on interior lighting for longer periods in the evenings. If you haven’t already, making a switch from old-style, incandescent lighting to LED lighting is an easy way to be eco-conscious this winter. Using LED bulbs in lamps, recessed lighting, and interior and exterior holiday lighting will help you use less energy and lower your utility bill. In fact, an ENERGY STAR certified lightbulb “uses 70 to 90 percent less energy and lasts 10-25 times longer” than incandescent bulbs.

Use a Smart, Programmable Thermostat

Use technological advances to your winter heating advantage by installing a programmable Smart Thermostat, such as The Nest. Nest thermostats have reportedly saved over 26 billion kWh of energy since 2011. The Nest is Energy Star certified and it tracks your preferences and programs itself accordingly. It even uses sensors and your Smart Phone location to determine when you’re away from home and lowers the temperature to save energy.

Spin the Ceiling Fan in Reverse

Ceiling fans can do a lot to help cool down your home in summer months. Switching the way the blade spins in the winter can help heat the space around you. The fan should have a switch which allows the blades to turn in the opposite direction. Run the fan at low speed in a clockwise direction to force the warm air down. Using this setting will help conserve energy in colder months.