The weather outside might not be frightful (yet), but we know it’s coming soon! The winter months can take a toll on our budget, especially when it comes to our electricity bill, so we've put together ten ways to save energy this winter season, aside from bundling up in an extra blanket or two.
While some of the ideas below can save you a few dollars here and there, combined they can add up to a hundreds!
10 Great Ways To Save Energy This Winter
1. Invest in Insulation & Caulking
Rather than thinking of topping up the insulation in your home as a cost, consider it an investment! Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to heat escaping homes without proper insulation. While calling in a professional to top up the insulation in your attic would be your best option, some things you can do yourself include re-caulking your windows and doors and adding weatherstripping. Learn more about caulking here.
2. Thermal Curtains
This is something simple anyone can do: Get thermal curtains. You can get them anywhere (e.g., Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon, Wayfair...just do a quick web search!) During the winter, they keep the cold air out while keeping the heat out during the summer months. The added benefit is that you don't have to make any structural changes to your home, and they can be decorative too, so have some fun while you save on those energy bills!
3. Keep the Damper Closed
We all love the crackle of a burning log when it’s cold outside, but be sure to keep your fireplace damper closed unless there's a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window open—it allows warm air to go right up your chimney and out of your home. When your fireplace is not in use, be sure to close it up!
4. Watch Wash Times
This should be a year-round practice, and we’ve covered it before, but we can’t stress enough: Do your dishes and laundry after 7:00 pm (or on the weekends). These are considered off-peak hours and can significantly reduce your hydro bills. Also consider using cold water whenever you can.
5. Heat Things Up
Have you ever closed the vents on the passenger side of your car so all the cool or warm air gets pumped straight to you, on the driver's side? Well, the same concept can be applied at home! If there are rooms in your home you don’t use much, like a guest room, second bath, or storage closet, close off the vents in these rooms so all the heat in your home gets pumped into the rooms you actually use the most. This little strategy will help save you money by not heating unused spaces.
6. Fan the Flames
Most people think of fans as a means of cooling themselves, but used properly, they can also help heat a room. We all know that hot air rises, so simply flipping a switch found at the base of most fans will have it spinning clockwise, which pushes hot air down. Just be sure to switch it back to the counterclockwise setting in the summer when you want to cool the room! (To push hot air up.)
7. Keep It Clean
Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained and clean helps your furnace work more efficiently (because it won’t have to work through all the extra dust and debris), which reduces energy consumption. Check your furnace filter monthly to make sure it's not clogged up, and replace it at least every 3 months. Ideally, you should be replacing your furnace filter once a month during the winter season because your furnace is working extra hard but every three months is the absolute minimum.
A humidifier adds moisture to your indoor air, which helps retain the heat and make the dry air feel warmer, which means you can lower the temperature on your thermostat.
9. Go Green
Don’t want to purchase a humidifier, but love the look of greenery in your home? Plants release moisture into the air and can warm a room, holding in the heat. Some of the best indoor plants willing to share their humidity include the Areca Palm, the Boston Fern, the Spider Plant, and the Peace Lily, so consider adopting one! Learn more at DavesGarden.com.
10. Cap the Cold
Covering your electrical outlets, for anything other than child protection, may sound silly. But studies show that cold air creeps in through our electrical outlets. If you don’t already have them laying around, purchase some cheap electrical outlet covers at any dollar store and cap that cold air out.
There you have it! Our top ten ideas for being keeping warm this winter to help you be debt-free. Have some ideas of your own? Please share them with us in the comments below. And if you need help managing your debt or your budget (or both!), give us a call at 1.800.267.2272 and we'll set you up with a free counselling session with one of our friendly, expert credit counsellors.