10 Tips to Save Energy and Money This Winter

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The following is a guest post. Enjoy!

10 Tips to Save Energy and Money This Winter

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Saving money is arguably the most talked about subject at the water cooler, over dinner, and in the grocery store lines. You name the subject, and people are talking about it everywhere.

Where to find the cheapest gas and electricity is always a conversation starter. Mention to a friend you found cheap gas and someone you don’t even know will chime in on your conversation. What once would have been considered rude is now acceptable. Eavesdropping on a stranger’s conversation at the table next to yours in a diner would have been unheard of several years ago. However, with the price at the pump and the cost of heating oil rising, etiquette seems to have gone by the wayside. Sometimes, a little less etiquette and a little more sharing is not a bad thing. Learning where you can get the best deal and other money saving tips for lowering winter heating bills is highly valued knowledge these days!

Shown below are ten tips on how you can save both your wallet and the planet on energy consumption this winter:

1. Develop an energy plan for your house – Make a list of the energy hogging appliances you can eliminate or replace in the coming months.

2. Evaluate your electric bill – Ask for detailed information from your energy supplier. Figure out when your energy is peaking. Look for ways to decrease usage.

3. Turn televisions off or unplug them if they will not be used for extended periods of time.

4. Turn computers off when not in use; this includes printers and monitors.

5. Use lower wattage bulbs whenever possible, replacing burned out bulbs with newer long life energy efficient (sometimes called CFL – Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs. Although more costly for the initial purchase, they last substantially longer and use less energy while providing the same level of illumination.

6. Insulate your water heater and put it on a timer – Organize your family so everyone is taking showers at the same time of day. Maintaining instant access, hot water 24 hours per day can be expensive. If the family plans on showering in the morning, set the water heater to turn on 1-2 hours before the first person will shower. Run the dishwasher when no one is home, using the last of the hot water from that morning’s heating cycle to run the dishwasher before the timer turns the water heater off for the day.

7. Wash all clothes in cold water – Although hot water may be needed for some bedding items, most clothes will not only be just as clean, but will last longer if washed consistently in cold water.

8. Use hand sanitizer instead of water for post bathroom clean-up – Not only do you save on the water bill, but you also won’t place a demand on the water heater for quick hand washing.

9. Use a heating blanket to combat chilly nights in the fall and spring – Taking the edge off cold sheets with a heating blanket is often more than enough to avoid firing up your heating system for a chilly evening.

10. Open southerly and westerly curtains on sunny days – Even on the chilliest of winter afternoons, the sun’s rays will provide added warmth to rooms without increasing the thermostat temperature settings.

How about you all? What strategies do you use to save money on heating/energy usage during the winter months? Have you tried any of the techniques on this list? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • @ Putting your water heater on a timer – This is actually a VERY good idea! I’ve never really looked at my water heater in great detail, let alone evaluate whether or not it had timer ability on it. But, it’s very true that you really don’t need hot water AT ALL HOURS of the day. As such, this item is going on my lists of things to evaluate! 
  • @ Washing clothes in cold vs. hot water – 
    • Personally, I’ve never understood why people bother washing clothes in hot water. Along with costing more as far as water heating purposes go, if you use hot water, you also have to be vigilant in separating your white clothes from your colored clothes. As a guy in my mid-20’s, this is too much work for me! haha I ALWAYS use cold water to wash.
    • Even if some of my clothes call for washing them in hot water, I figure that my clothes are inexpensive enough that if they last 10% shorter (as a result of me using the wrong temperature water while washing them), replacing them wouldn’t be that big of a deal. 
    • Nevertheless, whenever I enter the laundry room at ANY of the apartment complexes I’ve lived in, the washing machine is ALWAYS set on hot water from the previous user. I really just cannot figure out why this is. 
    • I could understand using hot water to wash clothes if your clothes have been soiled by one of your animals or what-not. However, this is somewhat of a rarity.
    • How about you all out there? Can anyone educate me on why so many people wash their clothes with warm or hot water?!

***Photo courtesy of http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3038/2724803437_030a4f42d0.jpg


  1. I lower (68 degrees) my thermostat in winter and raise (78 degrees) it in the summer. I use the cold water wash and CFLs for lighting.
    My recent post How to Ace Lunch Interviews?

    • Nice work Krantcents! I admit I am guilty of keeping my thermostat somewhat opposite of the most cost-saving settings during those times! It's something I need to improve upon.
      My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

  2. I don't understand why people use hot water when washing clothes, either. The management company of my apartment building recently replaced our washers….with ones that don't allow you to manually choose the water temperature. In fact, the only setting that uses cold water is for delicates. All the others use warm or hot water….which is costing the building more in heating all that water!

    • I wonder the same thing rlk! I hate when people have used hot water before me when I do my clothes. It takes a while for it to cool down and sometimes, makes the colors on my clothes run!
      My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

  3. The College Investor says:

    As far as I know, hot water removes the dirt easier compared to cold water. Thanks for sharing the tips!
    My recent post The College Investor’s Market Thoughts – October 28, 2011

    • True Robert. Also, I think it helps to sanitize things a little more. I used some hot water quite a bit when my dog “messed” on some towels. haha
      My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

  4. Great tips here…one thing I really could be better at would be turning things off at the plug. I always leave everything on standby! I must must must try harder!! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. You can get big saving by using programmable thermostat to lower your temperature during day and night. Program it so that temperature decreases when you sleep and increases slightly in the morning one hour before you wake up. Again, lower when you are at work. You'll be surprised how much difference this makes on your monthly bill.
    My recent post 4 Important Factors When Considering Refinancing

    • Thanks for commenting UltimateSmartMoney. I do something manually each day with my thermostat. do you know if by doing it with a program, it is more efficient/cheaper?
      My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

  6. One thing that you can do for your electric bill is to use your electric company’s smoothing feature. After a year of data, you can sign up with most companies to set your monthly bill to the average of your last 12 months. At the end of the year or 6 months, your average is reset and you settle up if you are over or under. It is a great feature.
    My recent post Great Advantages Of Exchange Traded Funds

    • That is a good option for people that are trying to make their finances more predictable each month. I haven't yet tried it. Have you?
      My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

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