One thing that I will be trying hard to do this winter is conserve some energy. I picked the holidays as a focus because it is a time when generally our electric bills and therefore usage is large. I know that by concentrating on limiting our usage, we can really make a difference during this time but also all year long. I did some research and looked into some simple ways we can cut back and/or change our habits. Honestly, these are SO very doable. I am glad I checked it out. Join me in trying to conserve some energy this winter!
1. Slow cooker meals.
Not only is using the slow cooker an awesome way to prepare comfort meals in the winter time but it is also an energy efficient one as well (if your slow cooker is a newer variety). A slow cooker uses minimal energy so use it when you can instead of the oven when preparing dishes that will take all day like roasts and soups and stews. For dishes that can cook more quickly on the stove top and cooking time doesn’t matter, stick with the stove top. Here is a great resource from the University of Connecticut that explains this a bit further.
2. Replace outdoor holiday lights with LED ones.
Last year we went through every strand of our outdoor lights and checked them. We found that many of them weren’t working or needed a lot of fixing up. Instead of going to the effort to check each and every bulb, we decided that this year we would start fresh with some LED (light emitting diodes) lights. Energy savings run up to 90% when comparing LEDs to traditional and they last years longer too! Next year I think we will add some solar powered ones to the mix to test those out too.
3. Use a timer.
We have this one down pat. My dad is and has always been a timer kind of guy. Every light set in our house was on a timer when I was littler. Thankfully we have inherited some good timers from him and have been using them for our Christmas tree lights and for our outdoor lights as well as additional ones in our home. It is an easy way to make sure these lights aren’t on when you aren’t home. This one is like the one that we have.
4. Get used to the house being a bit cooler.
The last few years we have had infants in the house so we kept it fairly warm during the winter months. This year I think we will turn the temperature down just a few degrees, especially at night. Socks and sweatshirts are perfect for winter;) Every degree you decrease the temperature of your home saves you a percentage in your electric usage.
5. Use a programmable thermostat.
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, install one. Our thermostat just died this fall and so we replaced it with a programmable one. It is on our to do list to really get used to it this winter. Keep the house cooler at night when you are all snuggled up and maybe during the day when you aren’t home. Save a decent percentage this way!
6. Turn your water heater down.
Do you really need scolding hot water? I am guessing the answer is no and if you have small children in the house, I am guessing that you definitely don’t even want scolding water. It is really easy to turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees without even really noticing a difference AND it saves a lot of money and energy heating your water!
7. Replace your filters.
It is always a good idea to keep on the maintenance of your heating and air systems. During the winter months try to remember to replace the filters monthly (if needed) or at least every three months. Dirty ducts make your heater work harder to circulate the warm air so keep them clean! This is something that we need to do a better job at!
8. Open and Close Curtains.
During the day when the sun is shining, keep the curtains open on the south side of your house to allow all of the solar heat in. At night before you go to bed, make sure to close them to keep that heat in!
We are definitely creatures of this habit. We keep our chargers plugged in even when there is nothing on the other end. Unplug your chargers when they aren’t being used to save a bit of energy too!
What temperature do you keep your house at in the winter months?