Colorado's cool autumn weather has arrived, which was marked with an exclamation point last week with cold rain, sleet, and snow in Denver. With the quiet hum of my heater periodically firing up, I'm reminded of what I do to save energy and money at home in the winter.

  1. Program my thermostat to keep my home cool during the day (when no one is around) and during the night when I'm sleeping. Otherwise, I try and keep the inside temperature at 68 degrees, which is what my local utility company recommends—saving me up to $100 per year.
  2. Let the sunshine in. The solar heat gain from the day keeps my place warm during daylight. (And closing the drapes or blinds at night can help keep the heat in and insulate the inside—preventing as much as 15% of the heat from escaping.)
  3. Keep my hot water heater a little below the recommended temperature setting. Setting the heater to a slightly cooler setting of about 120°F reduces the amount of energy used to heat the water while still keeping the water warm enough for home use. In fact, each time you lower the temperature by 10°F you’ll save 3%ndash;5% on your water heating costs.
  4. Use cold water when using the washing machine, which saves me about $60 per year.
  5. Continue to replace my old light bulbs with CFLs, which saves me about $50 over the life of just one bulb.
  6. Reverse my ceiling fan to spin clockwise, which takes the rising hot air and blows it down in my bedroom.
  7. Touch up the weatherstripping around my doors and windows.
  8. Take care of my ENERGY STAR® appliances. Fortunately, when I moved into my home a little more than three years ago, all the appliances were ENERGY STAR-rated. This helps save me up to $75 a year in appliance energy usage. 
  9. Bonus: This past spring, I added a storm window to the only remaining window in my home that wasn't double-paned. I'm looking forward to 25%–50% efficiency savings this season!

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