10 Ways to Be Eco-Friendly and Save on Winter Heating Costs

Freezing Winter
Freezing Winter | Source

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 50% of energy consumed in average American households goes to heating and cooling. It's not that surprising, really. On scorching summer days, most families depend on air conditioners to stay cool and perhaps sane! In the wintertime, how would anyone endure snowy days without a heater? These technologies are meant to make our lives more convenient. Who wouldn't want to be comfortable in their own home anyway? However, that doesn't mean it's impossible to use less energy and save some money. Here are 10 practical ways to stay warmer while minimizing the use of your heating system. No matter how freezing this winter is going to be, you can conserve more energy, maintain an eco-friendly home, and most importantly, keep your wallet a little fatter!

Caulk All the Cracks

Think of cold air as a sneaky thief that keeps looking for furtive entrances to your home. If you live in an old house, it's wise to walk through every room and carefully check for leaks once in a while. Pay extra attention to often neglected areas, such as the garage, attic and basement. Once you locate all the little cracks and holes on your walls and ceilings, caulk them up nice and tight. You'd be surprised how much more warmth your house can conserve.

Don't Be Mindless about Your Thermostat

Before leaving your house, turn your thermostat down to a very low setting or just turn your heater off. There's no reason to keep an empty house so toasty and comfy. Better yet, consider installing a programmable thermostat, so that you won't have to keep adjusting it every day.

Thermal Insulated Curtain
Thermal Insulated Curtain | Source

Dress Your Windows with Smart Drapes

Trap more heat inside your house with thermal insulated curtains. These eco-friendly inventions are highly recommended for houses in freezing climates. They tend to be pricier than regular curtains, though. In case you don't want to spend extra money on these special curtains, any heavy drapes should be a decent alternative. If you're into DIY stuff, why not try turning some warm blankets that you don't use into nifty window treatments?

Fight the Winter with Food

Want to use less of your heater? Toughen up the "winter wimp" in you with food therapy! According to the ancient Chinese medicinal culture, certain beverages and foods contain "yang properties" that help the body generate more heat and render it easier to battle winter chill. Many consider this food therapy to be a practical method while some others believe it's just a placebo effect. To try it yourself, visit Eat to Beat Winter Chill.

Get Bundled Up

This energy-conserving strategy is a no-brainer; it's one of the oldest winter warming tactics known to mankind. If you live in an area where most winter days are not extremely harsh, simply keep yourself warmer by wearing more layers of clothes and use your heater only on the coldest days.

A Solar Heater
A Solar Heater | Source

Invest on an Eco-Friendly Heating System

Most central heating systems in the US are fueled by natural gas and generated in either a furnace or a boiler. The efficiency of your heating system can be determined by how well it converts fuel into heat, known as the "combustion efficiency." In general, a boiler is considered to be greener than a furnace, because it requires less energy to distribute the heat, and allows you to set the temperature separately in different areas of the house, which accordingly conserves more energy. Some other greener options include the solar heating, the freewatt system (a hybrid between a boiler and a natural gas generator module), and the Acadia heat pump (providing heat and air conditioning in one single unit). These green technologies are still very pricey. If you can afford to purchase and install one, however, it's really going to be worth your money in the long run.

Opt for an Energy-Efficient Water Heater

At the end of a chilling winter day, who wouldn't enjoy a nice hot bath or steamy shower? What usually accompanies such luxury, however, is a whopping increase in water heating costs. To conserve energy and save yourself some bucks, throw away your old energy-wasting water heater and opt for a greener version. Various types of eco-friendly water heaters are available nowadays. Most of them are very affordable although some high-end ones are still quite expensive for average homeowners to buy.

A portable and energy-saving space heater
A portable and energy-saving space heater | Source

Scrimp with a Space Heater

Why heat up the whole house when you're actually using only one room? If you spend most of your time in a small reading room or home office, an energy-efficient space heater is a more economical choice than a central heating system. Keep in mind, though, that this money-saving method only works if you want to heat one or two small areas at a time. Utilizing several space heaters at once is not going to be very cost-effective.

Stay Cozy Near the Kitchen

The kitchen is often a very warm place, so why not try to use the residual heat from your cooking to your advantage? For those of you who routinely cook, consider transforming your dining room or an area close to your kitchen into your family's winter sitting room. After turning off your oven, leave its door open so that the heat can radiate to the nearby area. Even if you're not much of a baker, other cooking activities that involve the stove should still create a good amount of heat to make the area around the kitchen pretty warm and cozy.

Weatherstrip Your Doors and Windows

Drafty doors and windows are easy gateways for cold air to seep into your home. By sealing them with weatherstripping products, you can keep out unfriendly drafts and accordingly cut down the heating costs. The best thing about weatherstripping is that it's a very cheap and easy way to insulate your home. Watch the following video by Home Depot to learn about different weatherstripping products, and how to apply them to your doors and windows.

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Comments 16 comments

ienjoythis profile image

ienjoythis 3 years ago from Nevada

This doesn't make too big of a difference, but whenever we use the oven at our house to make dinner, we leave the oven door cracked once we turn it off and are done using it. It allows the heat to escape and may skip a cycle of your furnace kicking on. Just a simple tactic but it may add up if you use your oven often.


healingsword profile image

healingsword 3 years ago from California

Excellent ideas and a beautiful Hub, Om! I grew up in the Midwestern USA, where winter is colder than kraut, as my Dad loved to say, and know how important it is to stay warm. Your eco-friendly ideas can help cut costs as well as nudge readers to try progressive ideas. I also enjoyed your Hub, Eat to Beat Winter Chill, to which you link in this Hub!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@ienjoythis - Yeah, I've been doing that a lot, actually. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!

@healingsword - Thanks for your comment, Ann. Glad you like these green ideas. Thanks for checking out "Eat to Beat Winter Chill", as well. :)


Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili Bisson 3 years ago from Canada

Some great tips here OM...I put weather stripping around the back door last year and the floor there warmed up right away. Big benefit for such a small cost!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon

Great points, Om--I have my office in the downstairs part of our house and it is SOOOO cold during the winter months because we have stamped concrete floor. They're great for cleanup and big paw feet but they really don't hold heat! So I have a small heater that I use for my office--works great and keeps me warm while I work!

The other things like insulated drapes are great ideas as well. In the case of the drapes, they also work well in summer if you happen to live in a very hot climate (as we do) where temps climb instead of dip in winter. Double duty--my kind of purchase.


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA

I grew up with some pretty hardy winters where the winter wind felt like it scraped your skin off your face. We use to and still do use our fireplace. It's not the most eco-friendly, but it sure saved on our gas bill. Another thing we did was plastic all the windows when we didn't have weather stripping for them. I seem to invest in lots of hot chocolate and homemade soups this time of the year. Great hub! You have posted many terrific ideas.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Om the hybrid heater was new to me..Thanks for updating me with the latest technology.

This was a useful hub. voted up indeed :)


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@Kaili Bisson - Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience with weatherstripping, Kaili. So glad you stopped by.

@akirchner - A concrete floor? Brrrrrrrrrr.....Glad your space heater has been working wonders, though. And yep, you're absolutely right; insulated drapes work well in the summer, too!

@tlpoague - Yes, plastic and bubble wraps are pretty good alternatives to weatherstripping products. And just like you, I also love to have hot chololate and hearty soups during the wintertime. By the way, I'm quite scared to visit wherever you grew up! "The winter wind felt like it scraped your skin off your face" ???? Yikes!!!

@Ruchira - I'm glad you learned something new from this hub, Ruchira. I actually just heard about the hybrid heater not long before I wrote this hub.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon

It is very, very pretty--as it has paint and designs in it--but you are right...brrrr on frozen toes when I start work at 4:45 a.m.! It is a breeze though to clean up though I wax it for its beauty--but the space heaters work wonders...and we also have tile throughout our upstairs (because of the pups)--it's always so easy to clean but in wintertime, socks are the word of the day (or boots)~~


JillKostow profile image

JillKostow 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

We actually just got finished caulking around our windows again to prepare for the cold weather.... Great tips! These are very useful!!


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@akirchner - Hehehe I'm sure your home office is very beautiful despite the cold concrete floor. Your decision to go with concrete actually makes sense, as it's probably one of the best flooring materials for dog owners. Imagine malamute paws stomping on carpets day after day! lol

@JillKowstow - Glad your like these eco-friendly tips, Jill. It's great that you finished your caulking project early in the winter. It's good to be well-prepared!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon

Indeed, Om--we tried berber and we tried wood flooring--and while very lovely as well, just too much upkeep. This way we have the best of all worlds....and they do love it in the hot, hot, hot days of summer as it provides a nice cool malamute "rug" area~


tebo profile image

tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

I bought some weather strip some time ago but haven't got around to installing it yet. I must do that. Lots of great ideas. The caulking is something I must check out to.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@tebo - Thanks for dropping by, tebo. Hope you get your doors and windows weather stripped soon! :)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 3 years ago from Southern California, USA

Great tips on saving on winter heating cost. I am going to pin this article, as I think others could use this info.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 3 years ago Author

@SweeitiePie - Glad you find this info on eco-friendly heating helpful. And thanks a lot for the pin!

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