If you are like most people, your energy use goes up in the winter. Cold days call for more heat use and darkening skies mean lights have to be on for longer periods of time. So how can we save money during cold winter months? Well, you actually don’t have to do anything drastic to start saving. There are small steps you can be taking to lower energy costs this winter. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PG&E. The opinions and text are all mine.
I was inspired to learn more about lowering our energy costs after taking PG&E’s Home Energy Checkup. The Home Energy Checkup is free for PG&E customers. It is a 5 minute online resource that allows you to find out how much of your home energy goes to heating, hot water, appliances, lighting and other uses and gives you a list of personalized suggestions on how you can boost your home’s energy efficiency.
I took the Home Energy Checkup on the PG&E website and it was quite eye opening. I simply signed into my account to access the tool. Signing in allows the results to be totally customized to your home and it’s characteristics. For instance, the tool already knew the square footage of our home and that we have a pool. I just answered a few simple questions about my home and the tool was able to make personalized recommendations.
One of the questions asked about air leaks in our home.
I sent my daughter to investigate and she came back to report that our front door had an air leak. Clearly, this is something we want to take care of before the weather gets any colder.
So what else did I learn after my Home Energy Checkup? A lot! I thought that we were doing pretty well, and in some areas we are, but there was still lots of room for improvement. Some specific recommendations for my home included:
- Install efficient shower heads
- Improve our home’s insulation
- Reduce the water heater’s temperature
- Program our thermostat – this alone can save us 10% a year on heating and cooling costs.
As you can see from the chart below, we spend the most on water heating. PG&E’s Home Energy Checkup will give you individualized tips in each of the categories below to save energy. They had some great tips to bring our water heating cost down such as: upgrading our gas water heater and insulating our water heater pipes.
If you are a PG&E customer, take the Home Energy Checkup to understand the benefits of home energy management. It can help you whether you are going through a home renovation, looking for ways to go green, or just looking for tips to lower energy costs this winter. One change we made was to replace our shower head with a low flow version. This was an easy way to save water and energy.
Tips to Lower Energy Costs this Winter
I realized that there are lots of easy ways to save money on energy costs. Here are some simple tips to lower energy costs this winter that you can do today.
- Turn down your thermostat a few degrees in the winter. Grab a cozy sweater or blanket to keep warm.
- Gather around a fire place for activities. Watching a movie or playing a board game near the fire is a great way to stay warm and spend time with the family.
- Open the blinds. During sunny days take advantage of the heat and open curtains and blinds to help warm up the house.
- Use Advanced LED holiday lights. If you decorate for the holidays, consider investing in Advanced LED lights. They use a lot less energy and last longer than traditional holiday lights.
- Take a faster shower. Even cutting down a shower by a minute or two a day helps to lower the amount you will spend on water heating.
- Make sure floor vents are clear. When you do turn on the heat, make sure the heating element in the room is not blocked by furniture or other items.
- Wash clothes with cold water. This is not always possible, but many loads can be successfully cleaned on the cold water setting.
- Make sure to keep the lint trap on the dyer clean. A full lint trap makes drying time take longer which wastes energy.
- Check for drafts in windows and doors. Seal any drafty areas.
- Make sure to keep your garage door closed to keep heat from escaping.
What are your best tips for lowering energy costs in the winter?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PG&E. The opinions and text are all mine.