Energy Savings for the Budget Savvy

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With dropping temperatures comes rising utility bills. Check out these tips to keep your home toasty warm and ready for winter while saving some serious cash.


  • Simply lowering your heater’s temperature by two degrees in colder months can lower your bill by $40 a year!
  • Spend much of your time in only one room? Using a space heater there, while keeping the overall house temperature lower, can save you significant cash.
  • Replace or clean furnace filters once a month during the winter to amp up efficiency.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from vents to get the most bang for your heating buck.
  • Open blinds during the day to let sun in (especially south facing windows). Close them at dusk to trap heat inside your home.
  • Purchase a humidifier. Winter air can feel very dry, but a humidifier will add moisture to the air, making it feel warmer and keeping you comfortable.

Holiday Lights

  • Toss out old strings of incandescent holiday lights. The old wiring may be a fire hazard and incandescent lights can use up to 99% more energy than new LED versions.
  • There is no need to keep your holiday lights on all night long. Keep exterior lights on a timer and unplug interior lights before going to bed.


  • Turn the water heater temperature down to 120°, unless your dishwasher manual specifies otherwise. 120° is plenty hot for bathing and most dishwasher models.
  • Wrap your water heater in a designated water heater blanket to avoid heat loss.


  • Close the damper on traditional fireplaces when not in use. Better yet, install rigid insulation in the chimney if you do not plan to use the unit.
  • Apply both interior and exterior caulking to fill gaps around window frames.
  • If the foam and rubber strips sealing your doors to the outside are old and cracked, it’s time to replace them! Strips can start at $2 at home-improvement stores. This small investment will save about $30 a year in heating and cooling costs.


For more information on preparing your home for winter, join us for It’s Freezing in Here!—Winter Energy Saving Essentials on Wednesday, December 5 at 7 PM at Siouxland Libraries Main Branch (200 N Dakota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD) . This free, 50-minute seminar is a part of Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service’s Homeownership Education Series, made possible through a grant from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation.

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