Winter Energy Conservation Tips

Stay comfortable indoors without sending your thermostat – and energy bill – through the roof. 

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Scott's Favorite DIY Winter Tips

More on the Power Hour.

Low + No Cost Ways to Save

Low & No Cost Ways to Save

Saving money can be cheap and easy! Try these simple ways to lower your electric bills in winter.

  • Change your heating filters monthly. Clogged filters make heating your home less efficient.
  • Check weather stripping on exterior doors and windows. Adjust or replace it if you can see light or feel a draft.
  • 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.
  • Close foundation vents 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. 

Saving with Thermostat Settings

A lot of winter waste can come from using too much heat with the wrong thermostat settings. Try these adjustments to make sure you're not over-heating.

  • Set your thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees, or lower if comfortable.
  • Lower your thermostat when you're going to be or will be away:
    • If you have a heat pump or ductless mini split, try lowering your thermostat by 2-3 degrees. 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 or resistance heaters (such as baseboards and wall heaters), you may be able to go 10 degrees lower than normal before bed or leaving the home.
    • Why the difference? 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, do NOT 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 unnecessarily.
  • 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, 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. 

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Deeper Savings

Looking for bigger savings? Try these long-lasting home improvements.

  • Increase your insulation especially in the attic. If your home was built before the 1990s, you could probably use more insulation. Also, get up to $1 per square foot cash back in Chelan PUD rebates.
  • If your ducts run through your crawl space our attic, make sure your ducts are professional sealed or you could be heating the outdoors. You could be eligible for up to $500 cash back, too!
  • Upgrade your resistance heating or furnace to an efficient heat pump, whether you have central heating or want ductless. You could cut your heating bills by up to half and Chelan PUD rebates can pay up to $1,400.

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All-Season Savings

  • Use energy-saving LED bulbs and fixtures.   
  • Upgrade to efficient EnergyStar appliances.
  • Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees. And switch to a hybrid water heater when it's time to change your old one (and get $800 cash back from Chelan PUD when you do!).
  • Wash your clothes in cold water.
  • Keep your refrigerator at 38 degrees and freezer at 10 degrees. 

Need more ideas? Call our Customer Energy Solutions team at (509) 661-8008.