9 habits to help you save energy this winter

Don’t let common energy-wasting habits cost you money. Try these tips to help you save

Laurinda Schenck

Laurinda Schenck ● illumination contributor

January 19, 2023

Here are some ways you could be unintentionally wasting energy in your home, and tips for changing your habits to help keep your energy bills as low as possible this winter.  

Seal air leaks

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Ten percent to 20% of your heating and cooling costs could be escaping through air leaks. One of the quickest and most affordable energy-saving habits you can do each year is to check windows, doors and vents for air leaks. Make sure the air ducts from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner are properly sealed too. Ducts that leak into the attic or crawl space can substantially increase your heating and cooling bills. Caulking, sealing and weatherstripping these leaks can save on your heating bills. Watch how to do this and other DIY projects that can help you save.

Make the most of your programmable thermostat

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The habit of leaving the heat cranked up, especially when you’re away or sleeping, is one that can drive up your energy bill. Heating and cooling accounts for around half of your home’s energy use, so the best way to save money on energy consumption is through a programmable or smart thermostat, making it easy to set a schedule that works for you. The more you can keep the thermostat at your lowest comfortable setting, the more you’ll save on heating costs.

Keep blinds and curtains open during the day, closed at night

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Did you know direct sunlight can heat a room 5 degrees or more? Though the weather outside may get frightful, make sure to keep blinds and curtains open during sunny days to let sunlight into your home. This natural heat can allow you to lower your thermostat, reducing heating costs. Be sure to close curtains at night to help insulate and reduce heat loss.

Track your energy use

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Are you missing out on an easy opportunity to stay on top of your energy usage and your bill? Our Duke Energy mobile app makes it easy to check your use by week, day or hour – to make adjustments before your bill cycle ends. Learn more and download here.

Get your HVAC system checked

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A neglected heating and air conditioning system has to work overtime – using more energy and money to keep the temperature in your home comfortable. Have your system checked regularly to maintain performance. Duke Energy offers qualified customers rebates to help offset the cost of replacing older HVAC units with more energy-efficient ones.

Change furnace air filters regularly

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Dirty air filters put more strain on your HVAC system, wasting energy. Like any appliance, an HVAC system works best when it’s clean and maintained. Establish the habit of changing your home’s air filters once a month, or at least every three months.

Clear air vents

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Blocked air vents slow down airflow and make your system work harder to distribute air in your home, wasting energy. Make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, curtains or other household items. Cleaning dust and pet hair from your vents and air returns helps to ensure your furnace can run efficiently.

Use ceiling fans to circulate warm air

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Ceiling fans aren’t just for summer. Did you know they can help to keep you warm in winter? Changing your fan settings to rotate clockwise will push the warmer air downward, helping to warm the room.

Set the water heater thermostat at the right temperature

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Behind heating and cooling systems, water heaters are typically the second-biggest source of energy use in the home. Setting the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or even just a few degrees cooler can help you save on energy bills.

More tips

Explore no-cost and low-cost tips that can help you use less energy. Click here for more ways to be more energy efficient during winter and throughout the year.

Assistance for customers in need

Duke Energy is committed to supporting customers and connecting them with assistance and ways to help manage their bills. Share the Light Fund helps people struggling to pay their energy bills. Help may also be available through federal, state and local assistance programs, including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

To contact the Share the Light partner agency in your area to apply: duke-energy.com/ShareTheLight

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