Save Energy and Stay Warm!

— Written By Trudy Pickett and last updated by

Home electric bills during the cold months seem to get higher and higher each year. With that in mind, and keeping you and your family warm and toasty a priority, read on for energy and money saving ideas that work.

When you consider ways to save energy you might think about people installing solar panels on their roof or making major upgrades in their home to save on energy costs. But you should start by asking yourself, how can I save energy without spending a fortune? There are a number of inexpensive and even free ways you can cut back on energy use and save money on your energy bills.

One free way you can cut back on energy costs is to unplug any electrical devices you aren’t using. A surprising amount of electricity is still sucked out of an outlet even when electronics are turned off. The only way to make sure these devices are not using energy is to unplug them from the wall.

Another example of free energy savings is to manage your cooling and heating use. The largest portion on your energy bill is made up of heating and cooling costs. You can find significant savings in small changes to the way you run your unit. Experts recommend setting your system at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter for optimal energy-efficiency. Each degree cooler or warmer can affect costs by up to 6 percent.

Many people set their thermostat once and forget about it until they happen to get hot or cold and decide to fiddle with it. You may set your thermostat one chilly winter morning to 68 degrees then leave it there all day – even though the house is empty and no one is there to enjoy the toasty warmth. Installing a programmable thermostat is pretty simple, as is setting it up. You can have different settings for weekdays, to accommodate when you’re home and when you’re away, as well as weekends when your schedule may be different. Making this switch can save as much as $180 a year.

It may seem like closing vents in unused rooms would save energy and ultimately money by reducing heating and cooling costs. It’s less square footage to heat or cool, right? Despite that logic, it’s actually a common misconception that closing vents in unused rooms saves energy. In fact, it can actually waste more energy than operating your system normally does. Closing vents in unused rooms saves energy from entering the room, but it also pushes the excess air to other places in your home.

Regardless of how many vents you have open, the heater or air conditioner produces the same amount of air. The added pressure from closing a vent can cause air leaks in your system, causing long-term and unnecessary energy waste. Air leaks cause the unit to work harder as it tries to make your home comfortable. In addition shutting vents could damage your AC or heater, leading to inefficient operation and costly repairs.

So does it save energy to close vents in unused rooms? The answer, unfortunately, is no. You are better off keeping the vents open to ensure the unit operates efficiently. This way over the lifetime of your system you can save on energy use and repair costs.

Go to for more home energy saving ideas. Staying warm while saving money this winter is the best plan!