Energy Efficiency
Lower Home Energy Bills When It’s Cold Outside
Making these low-cost changes can help

Running your dryer and dishwasher at night provides added warmth to the home during colder months.
BernardaSv | iStock.com

Want to save money on your energy bills this winter—without spending a lot to make it happen? Here are 10 low- or no-cost changes you can make:

1. Use ceiling fans to make rooms feel warmer. Most people think fans are just for summer, but ceiling fans running slowly in reverse will circulate the heat that rises toward the ceiling.

2. Add weatherstripping or caulk around windows and doors. Light a match or a stick of incense and hold it near the window frame. If the smoke sways, the window is leaking air. Caulking can significantly reduce heat loss.

3. Rearrange furniture. Move sofas and rugs that are blocking vents, which can cause uneven heating. Situate the most frequently used furniture near interior walls; it’s colder to sit near exterior walls, especially those with windows.

4. Install a “smart” thermostat that lets you program it or adjust the heat even after you’ve left the house. There’s no need to heat your home at the same level when it’s empty as when your family is home. Turning back your thermostat for eight hours a day can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill.

5. Keep the shades open during daylight hours. The sun heats your home for free all day. Close the curtains at night to keep heat in.

6. Check the seams and joints of your ductwork for leaks. Repair leaks with a duct-sealing compound.

7. Pull on a sweater and keep the thermostat at a lower temperature. You could save at least 1 percent per degree on your electric bill.

8. Run your clothes dryer and dishwasher after dark. They produce heat that can help keep your home warm at the coldest time of the day.

9. Install compact fluorescent or LED bulbs in the fixtures you use the most. These use far less energy than incandescents.

10. Limit your hot water use. Wash clothes in cold water and take shorter showers.