10 tips to stay warm and save energy this winter
Take these steps to make your home or workplace more comfortable while lowering your energy bills
WINOOSKI, VT—Vermont’s long, cold winter months are here. With them come chilly temperatures that could put more pressure on your heating and other energy bills, and your household budget overall. But there are steps Vermonters can take now to weather the winter, lower their monthly bills, and make work and home more comfortable when it’s cold.
- Don’t block the heat! Move furniture, carpets, drapes, and anything else that could prevent the flow of warm air into and around the room. Sweep or vacuum near radiators, baseboard heaters, and any vents, ducts, or registers.
- Keep it comfortable by optimizing your thermostat. Programmable thermostats can automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on the time of day or the day of the week. Set your programmable thermostat to keep your home cooler when you’re not home, and automatically turn up to a more comfortable temperature when you’re there. Consider rebates for switching to a smart thermostat that can help you customize exactly how and when you heat your home.
- Seal your windows and doors. Add weatherstripping to your windows and exterior doors to keep out cold winter drafts. Use caulking around your window edges to reduce heat loss. Learn more tips to keep your home warm and comfortable all winter.
- Use curtains and shades. Windows transfer heat, so on sunny winter days, open your shades and curtains on windows that get a lot of sunlight. The sun can help warm the air in your home, and you’ll use less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures. At night, close your curtains or shades to keep the warm air inside.
- Maintain your heating systems. Boilers and furnaces should be serviced annually. The outdoor components of heat pump systems also need regular maintenance and cleaning. Other heating systems, like wood or pellet stoves and boilers, need more frequent attention. Depending on the size and use of your wood stove or boiler, ash bins may need to be emptied weekly, or several times a week. Keeping your home’s heating system clean helps ensure it functions properly and efficiently.
- Get the most out of your ductless heat pump. Turn your heat pump off “auto” mode in winter and use the “heat” setting. Make sure your heat pump prioritizes its own thermostat, ensuring you get as much heat as possible before a less-efficient supplemental heating system kicks in. Any adjacent rooms or spaces you hope to heat with your heat pump should have good airflow to the indoor heat pump unit. Read more about ways you should NOT use a heat pump.
- Filters are your friend. Replace or clean any filters on your heating systems, air purifiers, and related systems. It’s a good idea to clean or replace these filters every few months.
- Make your holiday lights LEDs. Old lightbulbs could be a drain on your energy bills. Switch them out for LED bulbs, which use less energy and last longer. Holiday lights that use LEDs are also safer because LEDs produce significantly less heat than other bulbs.
- Help is available to afford the energy your home needs. Don’t wait for a heating emergency or an empty fuel tank to reach out for support. The State of Vermont offers energy assistance and fuel assistance to income-eligible Vermonters, plus an emergency heating system repair or replacement program. They are run through Vermont’s community action agencies. Wood banks, like Wood 4 Good, can also support families in need by giving qualified families a free delivery of firewood. Learn about free home weatherization for income-eligible Vermonters through the state’s Weatherization Assistance Programs.
- Not sure what to do next? Get a free Virtual Home Energy Visit. An Efficiency Vermont energy expert can help you learn about ways to weatherize and increase comfort in your home. Advice ranges from low- and no-cost efficiency tips to recommendations on comprehensive projects that can reduce your heating bills.
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last eight consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at www.efficiencyvermont.com.
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