10 ways to stay warm and save money this winter

A woman and child sit near a fire. (Photo provided by DTE.)
A woman and child sit near a fire. (Photo provided by DTE.) (Mark Houston Photography 2020)

As the temperatures drop, heating systems turn on, and shorter days mean lights stay on longer.

These seasonal changes can increase your energy bills, but you can take steps to stay warm and comfortable while keeping those bills low.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat. You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake and lowering while you’re asleep or away. You can save as much as 10% each year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7 degrees to 10 degrees for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
  2. Dress appropriately for the weather by pulling out those cozy socks and sweaters. On cold winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and lower your thermostat another degree or two to save even more.
  3. Keep the air flowing. In an effort to improve efficiency and comfort, make sure rugs, drapes and furniture are not blocking airflow from registers.
  4. Upgrade your lighting. Lighting accounts for about 20% of a typical electric bill. ENERGY STAR® LED light bulbs use up to 90% less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Plus, switching to LED bulbs can save about $55 in electricity costs over the lifetime of a bulb. Click here to purchase LED bulbs and other energy efficiency products for your home.
  5. Install window sheeting. Low-cost, clear plastic window sheeting can be installed over leaking windows to keep cold air out. The plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  6. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation as needed can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bills. Learn more about insulation and windows to see if you’re eligible for rebates on energy-efficient insulation and window upgrades.
  7. Close the fireplace damper. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter, allowing warm air to go right up the chimney.
  8. Get a furnace or boiler tune-up to make sure your equipment is running at peak performance. If your equipment is old and needs to be replaced, upgrade to a high-efficiency model and get rebates of up to $900.
  9. Visit DET’s virtual Energy Efficient Home for room-by-room tips to reduce your energy and save all winter long.
  10. Download the free DTE Insight App to track your energy usage and find ways to save even more.

Get more recommendations for saving money and energy at DTEenergy.com.