Winter Energy Conservation Tips

Quick tips for managing winter's chill

Stay comfortable indoors without sending your thermostat - and energy bill – through the roof. Follow these tips on cold-weather energy efficiency. 


  • Change your heat pump/furnace filters monthly.
  • Check weather stripping on exterior doors and windows. Adjust or replace it if you can see light or feel a draft.
  • Check ceiling and crawl spaces to ensure there is adequate insulation.
  • Close fireplace damper and glass doors when fireplace is not in use. Don't use your fireplace in the coldest weather.
  • Fix broken ducts and replace cracked or peeling tape on ducts. Use tape with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) logo and labeled for heating ducts.
  • Check to make sure foundation vents are closed for the winter. If your vents do not close, taping a piece of plastic on the outside will help considerably.
  • In the evening, close your drapes to retain heat. Make sure heating registers are not covered by the drapes or furniture. During the day, if it's sunny, open the drapes to capture warmth from the sun.
  • Dress warmer on colder days; it's less expensive than turning up the heat.
  • Set your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees or lower if comfortable.
  • If you have a heat pump, to save energy during the coldest weather, try lowering your thermostat by 2-3 degrees when you're going to bed or will be away. In milder winter temperatures (40 to 50 degrees), you may be able to lower your thermostat by 4-5 degrees.
  • If you have a furnace, to save energy during the coldest weather, you may be able to go 10 degrees lower than normal before bed or leaving the home. See  "The Ups and Downs of Thermostats" on our blog)
  • Install a programmable thermostat that can lower your home’s heat automatically while you're away or sleeping. (Don’t know how to use your heat pump thermostat? Watch our quick video featuring WVC Professor and HVAC expert Greg Jourdan.)
  • If you have a heat pump, don’t switch your heat pump thermostat to “e heat” or “auxiliary heat.” Switching to e heat essentially turns your heat pump into a furnace, overriding the benefit of your energy-saving system.
  • If you're going away for the holidays or on an extended winter vacation, set your thermostat between 55 and 60 degrees. If you have a heat pump though, adjust the settings up gradually when you return, a few degrees at a time. Crank it up too quickly and your auxiliary heat (your furnace) will kick on, which uses more electricity.
  • Use energy-saving LED bulbs and fixtures.   
  • Upgrade to efficient ENERGY STAR appliances.
  • Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees.
  • Use the cold water setting for clothes washer loads.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 38 degrees and freezer at 10 degrees.

Need more ideas? Call our Conservation Department at (509) 661-8008.

Graphic of house wrapped in winter scarf