10 ways to save on energy costs this winter

These tips will help to reduce energy consumption and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.

 of 12
 of 12

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

86Comments
Nov 22, 2013 10:11PM
avatar
About 3 years ago we finally got fed up with high ridiculously expensive heating gas bill so we told them to shut it off.  The gas company was realy snide and sarcastic saying we wouldn't make it through the winter without out them.  Hah!  We now only heat our house with our woodburning fireplace.  We do just fine.  We could buy 6 or 7 ricks of wood a month for less than our gas bill had been.  Of course it doesn't take nearly that much.  A rick lasts us a couple of months.  Yes, the house is colder than it was but it's not bad.  We dress a little warmer, and we save  HUGE amounts of money.  Now if I could just find an alternative to electricity I'd be doing great.
Nov 20, 2013 11:22PM
Nov 21, 2013 8:55AM
avatar
Not sure they have it right on the ceiling fan slide. I was taught to have the air flow downward in summer, and pull up in the winter. You want to feel the air movement in the Summer, but not in the winter.
Nov 23, 2013 10:02PM
avatar

I've been in hvac 36 years & don't agree with a lot of the suggestions for "saving energy" a lot of them will in fact cost money as well as problems with the newer equipment. The more sensible "rule of thumb" for thermostats used to be unless you are going to be gone more than 72 hrs. don't vary the temp more than 5 deg. 10 degrees for just an 8 hour period is asinine !, If the outside temp is low enough for the house to drop 10 degrees in that period this constant change is also hard on paint furnishings etc., the recovery time eats any savings & the biggest factor to consider with modern equipt is that if there is any issue with inadequate air flow i.e. sizing, dirty filters or too many vents shut off or blocked, the furnace will over heat & eventually shut itself off.Furnaces doing this creates probably 65% of no heat calls in the winter & a common response from people is "my old furnace never did that", As for these new "smart thermostats" I personally don't think the majority of consumers have any chance of recouping the cost, but think a lot of people just want the newest fanciest "toy" like the smart phone game, most of these will probably be outdated or have failed before ever recouping plus most people with these type of controls are constantly playing with them. I also feel that the High end variable speed "bell & whistle " models are not are good investment. They are becoming more reliable & most have a ten year part warranty which is better  than the one or five year previously. in a lot of cases a step down from the top of the line to one with 2 stage technology & ecm motor is a better investment, none of these are any better than the way they are installed, a lot of contractors push the high end as it is better for them for obvious reasons, a lot of the savings depends on the efficiency &size of the house as well as the area it is in i.e. energy costs, climate.The best investment for energy savings is common sense ! 

Nov 21, 2013 12:51AM
avatar
During the oil embargo in the early 70's we were asked to not go over a 68 degree setting on our thermostats.  This I have always followed.
Nov 23, 2013 6:03PM
avatar
I disagree with some of these suggestions.  Like the one about turning your t/stat down 10-15 degrees for 8 hours.  This just causes your heating system to have to work that much harder to heat up all the molecules in everything in your home before the air temp can start to rise, and any temp below 3 degrees causes your furnace to operate at full load (amp draw and 2 stage heat in second stage using more gas).  Also closing off vents in rooms not used isn't always a good idea.  What about air flow and CFM rate across the heat exchanger for temperature differential, and if it has individual returns in those rooms where the vents are closed then that colder air has to be heated again causing the furnace to have to work harder and longer than it really needs to.  Keeping your t/stat within a 2 degree temp difference is best, your body will get accustomed to that temp and it is a comfort system designed to keep your home at a certain temp.  Insulation and humidity play a more important role in home temp.  Just some helpful hints from a HVAC tech.
Nov 23, 2013 4:26PM
avatar
I can't believe they missed referencing one of the biggest draws of heat to be sucked outside: seals around doors and windows. I have a laser temperature scanner and discovered some serious leakage around exterior doors and windows on a home bought last year after noticing how drafty it was and never got the chill out with heat on quite a bit. While it would be say 70 degrees inside and 25 outside, that scanner was reading a temperature of around 50 right at the seams. A simple fix: buy weather sealant strips and install. Problem solved: the home is not as drafty as it used to be, and my winter heating bill was down 15% last winter. Finally, be careful on electric space heaters. They can suck your power bill up quite a bit also.
Nov 20, 2013 11:10PM
Nov 23, 2013 4:57PM
avatar
That lady in the picture should take a clue and not keep her heat set at 78.
Nov 24, 2013 2:42AM
avatar
Best investment I have made for my home was a CAST IRON high efficient wood burning stove. My gas bill is 30 bucks a month all year around. The up front costs are high.  I have recouped my cost's after three winters. I stay in the South East and winters are usually only three to four months long here. The funny part is the gas company thought I was stealing from them. They changed my meter. Made no difference to me. I cut and split my own hardwood. It's how I exercise  during the winter months.  
Nov 23, 2013 11:14PM
avatar
We set our thermostat on 62 for the last 2 years. It saves a ton of money and your body adjusts to it. I dont put on a sweatshirt to go out till it hits 45 degrees.
Nov 24, 2013 4:22AM
avatar

OK, I've got a Nobel prize winning observation here: Put some freaking clothes on. Big time thermals, 2 layers of pants with 3 layers of shirts, 2 pair of socks, and a hat or beanie. If you run to your thermostat wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt you deserve to lose your shirt.

Don't heat air- heat objects instead. Small wattage radiant heaters work best and they work in drafts, too. A 400 watter keeps me comfortable and the only time I run the central heat is to protect the pipes during a plunge.

Dec 28, 2013 1:01PM
avatar
Can't save SH*T where I live in South Carolina. No matter how you try to save on energy cost, SCE&G just keeps raising their rates which erases any attempt at saving. 
Nov 24, 2013 1:36AM
avatar
Replaced single pane windows with double pane a few years ago.  Heating bills dropped a lot.  I also turn the heater down at night and when I am not home.  Only to 66 degrees.  When I am home I have the heater up to 69 or 70.   So far, I have refused to have central air put in.  Although, it is warmer than I would like in the summer since it cools at night it hasn't been horrible. 
Dec 28, 2013 2:03PM
avatar
Hmmm...An amazing array of tips.  Is Niccole Schrek, the writer, just out of school or something?  I thought most adults already knew about these tips.


Nov 23, 2013 7:37PM
avatar

I think LEDs are crap. I used them 2 yrs. ago on my wreath. Took them out last year and most didn't work. I had to search for lights again. By the time I got done, I had 4 sets of LEDs on my little wreath.

They don't have a long life. Yes, they were battery-operated for the wreath - I kept changing the batteries but it was actually the lights - I used the batteries for other things and they worked fine.

I don't put up a wreath until my b-day ( the 8th) and only run them for a few hours. I hate LEDs. Give me the mini-lights - brighter & they last. Can't find the battery operated minis anywhere now.

Nov 23, 2013 9:25PM
avatar
Here in Texas where it's incredibly hot (95+) in the summer & so-so in the winter we have $122 month electric bill (no gas). Set thermostat on 68/76. 2400 sq. ft., all brick, metal roof (great insulator) & vinyl windows. The 9 ft. ceilings, ceiling fans, hardwood & tile floors (no carpet) keep the house very comfortable in the summer...sometimes A/C will not kick on until it's 85+ outside. Carpet is a great insulator for up north...down south I wouldn't have it. In the winter months it's still comfortable @ 68. In the evenings we just add fuzzy socks & sweaters. Today the high was 46...right now it's 42 degrees outside...furnace has kicked on twice all day.
Nov 23, 2013 7:31PM
avatar
 I suggest Al Gore stop inflating the cost of energy and the extortion of society on the basis of a complete fairy tale. However considering the nazi media schools and government along with the demented zombie state of democrat voters ...................Need I say anymore? Now back with your lowest labor participation rate since 1978 welfare for wall street overwhelming debt fraud and abuse.
Dec 28, 2013 11:31AM
avatar
IF you want to stay warm move to the SUN Shine State FL,we got plenty of room Good Day  BYE
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

SMART SPENDING