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Tips for Saving Energy During the Winter

In the winter, when many people turn on their heaters and put up holiday lights, gas and electric bills can be much higher than usual.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a family spends more than $1,900 a year on electricity bills and other utilities. A big part of those costs come from wasted energy during those cold months.

However, you can save on winter energy costs if you make some changes in certain areas of your home.

Lighting

Improve the lighting in your home and save energy.

  • Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last between six and 12 times longer. Remember to turn off any lights that aren’t in use.
  • Consider using LED lights for Christmas decorations. These use 90 percent less energy than the standard Christmas lights.

Thermostats and heating

Keep your home warm and comfortable.

  • Install a programmable thermostat for your home’s heating system.
  • Keep the doors and windows closed while the heat is on.
  • Frequently change the filters in your furnace.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

General tips

Be energy efficient throughout your home.

  • Only use the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathrooms when necessary.
  • Repair any water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, etc.
  • Use power strips to plug in portable heaters, television and cell phone chargers. That way, you can turn off the power switch when the devices are not in use.
  • If you’re thinking of replacing your appliances, make sure they have an Energy Star logo. Energy Star products are more energy efficient.

Programs for low-income families

During the winter, the government helps low-income families with their energy bills.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps families pay some of their heating costs. To see if you qualify for these benefits, contact your local LIHEAP office for more information.

Read this note in Spanish.

VA Home Loans Can Help Servicemembers and Veterans Purchase, Refinance, or Adapt a Home

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of home loan programs for active duty servicemembers, veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members: 

  • Purchase Loans help purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance.
  • Cash Out Refinance Loans take cash out of your home equity to pay off debt, fund school, or make home improvements.
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan can help you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan.
  • Native American Direct Loans help eligible Native American veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan.
  • Adapted Housing Grants help veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability.

These programs are not one-time benefits - they can be reused.

Learn more about home loans for veterans and servicemembers.

VA Home Loans Can Help Servicemembers and Veterans Purchase, Refinance, or Adapt a Home

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of home loan programs for active duty servicemembers, veterans, and National Guard and Reserve members: 

  • Purchase Loans help purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance.
  • Cash Out Refinance Loans take cash out of your home equity to pay off debt, fund school, or make home improvements.
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans can help you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan.
  • Native American Direct Loans help eligible Native American veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan.
  • Adapted Housing Grants help veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or to modify an existing home to account for their disability.

These programs are not one-time benefits - they can be reused.

Learn more about home loans for veterans and servicemembers.

If you need help deciding what papers to keep, our guide to managing household records can help.

The majority of home fires occur during the winter months. Take a look at some precautions that will help to prevent fires caused by portable heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, generators, and candles. You’ll also find reminders about smoke alarms and the importance of having a home escape plan.