It’s already started snowing in Michigan, and that means we are hunkering down for a harsh winter ahead in so many states in the U.S.
We’re used to the temperatures dipping well below zero here, but winter also typically signifies bracing for a few months of outrageous utility bills due to cranking the heat to stay warm all winter long. However, this winter, my husband and I decided to instate a few green tips to save money around the house this winter to save money on utility bills and do our part to conserve energy.
Here are four green tips that will help you save money and energy around the house this winter.
1. Go natural to light the way
Yes, I realize the days are shorter and the nights longer during the winter. I drove home at 5pm yesterday afternoon and it was already dark outside! However, when we do get sun during the daytime, I make sure to open the blinds and curtains to let natural sunlight light up the rooms in my home when I can. Taking advantage of the sun not only saves on energy bills, it also helps my husband’s dour winter mood as he suffers from Season Affective Disorder (or SAD).
2. Unplug to save on phantom power drain
I always tell my kids to turn off the television, computer, stereo, or game system when they aren’t using them and they’ve gotten really good at respecting the environment in that way. So this year I added the rule of unplugging all electronic devices as well. This ensures that the power is totally cut—otherwise, even though they’re off, electronics continue to suck up “phantom power,” which still converts to energy use on your electrical bills. To ensure you cut all power when devices aren’t in use, invest in power strips around the house.
3. Cut down on plastic consumption
I used to buy cases of bottled water every month for my family. And even though it did wonders for our health (compared to drinking sugary pop and juice), it wasn’t doing any good for the environment. So this fall I had a few water purifiers installed around our home so we could drink water from the tap and cut out our bottled water waste almost entirely. Plus, the filtered water has done wonders on our appliances—such as our home’s dishwasher, washing machine and water heater—they run much more efficiently due to the gentle water, and our clothes and dishes last longer too!
4. Set the timer on your home heating
The simplest way that we’ve conserved energy as a family so far this winter is with a programmable thermostat. Having control over our home heating has really lowered our utility bills. For instance, I set the timer to normal when we’re home, but I set it to automatically drop a few degrees when we’re at work and school, as well as when we’re in deep sleep, plus, throwing on an extra sweater or blanket while watching television or reading a book isn’t so bad when it saves vital resources. Teaching the family to bundle up rather than turn it up can save you a lot on home energy costs.
Tina Jacobs is a registered nurse and DIY home improvement maven who has written and blogger for DIY Mother as well as numerous print and online publications ranging in topics from education to health and from home renovations to interior decorating.