How You Can Be Energy Efficient This Winter

Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest who is passionate about environmentalism and social justice issues. You can follow her on Twitter @HamiltonJori

Posted on Wednesday 4th December 2019
pillow, coffee, and candles displayed in front of a window

It’s wintertime again, which means that for many, thick duvets have come out of hiding and hot drinks are a recurring part of your daily routine. Temperatures have dropped in several parts of the world so as a result, energy consumption is likely to be on the rise. As you could probably guess, the residential end-use sector has significant spikes in demand every winter because of people consuming more energy in a bid to stay warm. 

Those who are becoming more environmentally conscious, however, may be thinking about how they can keep their energy consumption low and maintain a reasonable energy bill while staying warm. It is possible to do both, especially if you’re aware of a few simple energy-saving hacks. 

Explore Different Types of Energy 

There are different types of energy present in the U.S., but not everyone is aware of the variety. Knowing what they are opens up a world of opportunities for you to do right by the planet and reduce your energy bill. At the moment, fossil fuels constitute 81% of energy use in the U.S.  

Alternative forms of energy you could consider are renewable energy sources like hydropower, solar power, and wind. The good thing is that thanks to greater levels of awareness about cleaner energy, these sources are becoming far more popular. The most accessible type of energy for you depends on your budget and readiness to adopt more sustainable forms of energy. 

Perhaps try starting with solar energy as solar costs are said to be declining and technologies advancing. To use this type of energy, you need solar panels, which would do the job of converting sunlight into energy. Don’t worry about the effects of the often gloomy winter weather on your solar pannel’s ability to produce energy. Although the output may be relatively lower than during summer months, you should still get enough to keep your home warm and cozy. To help you get started with solar energy, look into the federal solar tax credit as it allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. 

Consider a Space Heater

Most people use central heating to heat their whole house during colder months. A more energy-efficient way of going about is to focus on heating the rooms you use frequently instead. A way to do this would be switching to a space heater. This is a creative way to save you money, as you’re heating fewer rooms and consuming less energy. 

If you need to narrow down your search for a heater, there are a few that will do a good job when it comes to heating your home. The Bionaire Silent Micathermic console heater is top-rated on Amazon and has two heating settings so you can find the perfect temperature for you. There’s also the Air Choice electric space heater which is ideal if you’re in colder climates as it’s touted to heat the air in a record-breaking three seconds. 

Check Your Insulation

Have you ever been sitting by the window or door and felt a cold breeze send shivers down your spine? This is a sign your home may not be as insulated as it should be and you’re losing heat you’re paying good money for. Instead of wasting money, check your insulation to ensure you’re getting the most out of the available heat in your house. 

Before insulating your home, do a few inspections to see where you might be losing heat. Some areas to look include the floors adjacent to an unheated space like a garage or basement and the walls. To check your wall insulation, you can remove the outlet cover and shine a light into the crack around the outlet box. You’d then pull out a small amount of insulation so you know what type was used. Easy ideas for better insulating your home are sealing drafty doorways and windows. It also helps if you get thicker curtains and maintain your heating system regularly. 

When doing inspections and insulating your home, don’t overlook your roof. Insulating your roof could result in monthly energy savings on heating and improve your indoor air quality too. In case you didn’t know, attic insulation alone could save you up to 20% on your energy bill, so it’s definitely worth considering. 

Avoid Wasting Energy 

Some of your daily habits during winter may be counter-productive to energy-efficiency. Being aware of them during winter months could save you a couple of bucks and save the world around you too. For instance, it may be common practice for you to leave the curtains open when the sun isn’t shining. However, one energy-saving tip would be to keep them closed when the sun isn’t out to keep the house warmer. Another example of a counter-productive habit is putting all of your clothes in the tumble dryer. To save energy when doing laundry, you could line them or use your heaters to dry your clothes instead. 

In another bid to save energy, switch off and unplug appliances when they’re not in use to reduce your standby power loads. If you’re the type to be bundled up in front of the TV in one room most of the day, turn off as many appliances around the house as you can to conserve more energy. A last tip is to invest in thick wool blankets, robes, and bedroom slippers so you’re able to stay warm and turn the heating down. 

Winter months may not be the warmest, but they certainly take the lead for the coziest time of the year. Just make sure that while you’re enjoying holiday movies and a warm home that you keep the environment in mind too.

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