Skip to main content

Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Nov 16, 2006 12:00AM

  • Reduce hot water use by installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. Older shower heads deliver four to five gallons of water per minute. A new, two-and-a-half-gallon-per-minute shower head will reduce your water consumption by one-third to one-half. A top-quality, low-flow shower head will quickly pay for itself in energy saved. 
  • Set the thermostat as low as comfortably possible in the winter and encourage your family to dress warmer inside instead of turning on the heater. Install a programmable thermostat but make sure to turn off any automatic heater settings if you go out of town.
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. Closing the damper prevents up to 8% of furnace-heated air from going up the chimney.
  • Test for air leaks in windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. Sealing off any heating leaks can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. 
  • Clean furnace filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Keep the furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted to save up to 5% of heating costs.
  • Turn off decorative outdoor gas lamps. Just eight gas lamps burning year round use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.
  • Use an automatic timer to help you avoid leaving the holiday lights on all night or during the daylight hours. Make sure that the timer is rated to handle the total wattage of the lights.
  • Replace large, traditional decorative holiday lights with new miniature lights, which use about 70% less energy and last much longer than the larger bulbs. If you prefer the brilliance of the larger lights, switch to 5-Watt bulbs, which use about 30% less energy than 7- to 10-Watt bulbs.
  • Consider replacing any old heaters or appliances with more efficient Energy-Star appliances.
  • Install high efficiency windows, which are 40% more efficient than standard windows. Consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows that are gas-filled with high performance glass (e.g., low emissivity or “low-e” glass).