10 Easy Ways to be More Energy Efficient This Winter

Energy efficiency tips for the home

In the winter, conserving energy by using less gas to warm the home isn't a practical choice for most people.

But as natural gas prices remain high – though, thankfully, not as high as initially projected – many Americans are looking for easy ways to be more energy efficient this winter.

From using smart tech to manage your energy use to making small changes throughout the day, here are 10 tips for being more efficient at home.

Upgrade your thermostat

One of the easiest (and cost-effective) things you can do to be more energy efficient? Make the upgrade to a smart thermostat. Investing in a thermostat that allows you to program how warm (and cool) you need to keep your home this winter is a great way to waste less energy and, possibly, save money.

To make the biggest impact, set your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours each day.

Use LED lightbulbs

If you're not already using LED lightbulbs at home, this is another simple swap you can complete in an afternoon. While you might pay more up-front for LED bulbs, they're far more efficient, saving you money in the long run.

LED lights not only last longer, they use at least 75% less energy.

Find and seal leaks around the home

Next on the seasonal to-do list: Take time to find and seal air leaks around your home.

If you do have leaks, start by caulking and weather-stripping drafty doorways and windows. Also check for leaks around chimneys, any unfinished spaces and outlets.

Take advantage of smart switches

If you're tired of leaving home only to wonder if you turned off the lights, it might be time to consider smart switches.

Smart switch options vary, but most allow you to schedule your lights (or other devices, like an air purifier or a fan) to turn on and off at a specific time. Others allow you to turn a device on or off from an app on your phone.

Use smart power strips

A smart power strip can detect when a device is in standby mode – and cut off the electricity to it. It's one of the simplest ways you can reduce your energy use.

Warm your home with natural light

Take advantage of a sunny day by opening your curtains and blinds and letting natural light fill (and warm!) your space. In the evening, shut everything up again to reduce chill near windows.

Adjust the heat when you're hosting guests

Whether you're hosting friends or family for dinner or a Super Bowl party, be sure to adjust your thermostat. Your house is likely to warm up quickly when it's filled with more people, so take advantage and give your furnace a break.

Be efficient in the kitchen

When you're using your oven, bake or cook more than one dish at a time. The energy needed to heat a full oven is the same as the energy needed to heat a half-empty one. And remember to keep the oven door closed while cooking.

When it comes to cleaning up, using an energy-efficient dishwasher is far less wasteful than washing your dishes by hand.

Unplug your devices

Many electronics – including TVs and computers – use energy even when they're not on. If you're heading out of town for more than a day, take a few minutes to unplug what you can (or use the smart strips mentioned above!).

Worry less about your impact and switch to a cleaner energy source

Did you know that 25 percent of your carbon footprint comes from your home's energy use? Switching to a cleaner source – like carbon-neutral natural gas or green electricity – is the quickest way to reduce that footprint.