- Take advantage of heat from the sun: Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close the curtains at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Cover drafty windows: Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty. Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency here.
- Adjust the temperature: When you are asleep or not home, turn your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
- Find and seal leaks: Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Find out how to here. Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows
- Maintain your heating systems: Schedule service for your heating system. Replace your filter once a month or as needed. Find out how to efficiently maintain furnaces or boilers and heat pumps at energy.gov. Wood or pellet burning appliances are cleaner burning and more efficient. Clean the flue vent regularly and the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Energy.gov also has other maintenance recommendations for wood-and pellet-burning appliances.
- Reduce heat loss from the fireplace: Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly – around 1 inch – and close doors leading into the room. Find more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance's efficiency and which wood to burn at epa.gov/burnwise.
Lower temperatures and spending more time at home may increase your energy costs. Here are some no-cost and low-cost ideas to help you save energy and money while staying comfortable during the colder winter months.
Sharon Pearce has served as the Director of Silent Voices since 1984, and has dedicated her life to speaking up for the unborn - and for the women who have been hurt by abortion.