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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.

Find answers to your questions about the new standards and learn more about affordable lighting choices.

What’s a Lumen? Understanding New Light Bulb Labels

By the Federal Trade Commission

Quick Quiz:

  • What’s a lumen?
  • What’s the Lighting Facts label?
  • Why will either of them matter when I shop for light bulbs?

Not sure? Watch a new video from the Federal Trade Commission to be illuminated. You’ll learn how lumens and the FTC’s Lighting Facts label can help you compare different bulbs when you shop.

Newer light bulbs — like halogen incandescents, CFLs and LEDs — use less energy by design. But that means you can’t use watts, which measure energy use, to tell how bright they’ll be. That’s where lumens come in: Lumens = brightness. The more lumens, the brighter the light.

Want to know more? Visit ftc.gov/lightbulbs.

You’ll also get a sneak peek of the Lighting Facts label, due on packages for everyday bulbs by the end of the year. The label helps you compare bulbs by telling you a bulb’s brightness (in lumens), yearly estimated energy cost, expected bulb life, and how warm or cool the light will look.

For more on new light bulbs, visit the Department of Energy’s energysavers.gov/lightbulbs.