As we begin to settle into winter and the temperatures get colder, keep these energy-saving tips in mind to get us through the season, cozy and warm. There are items in your household that may get more use during the wintertime, including the furnace, freezer, water heater and electronic devices. To make sure these vital household items are in proper working condition, here are a few low cost or no cost reminders to consider.


  • Clean or replace your furnace’s air filter regularly. It’s a good rule of thumb to check on it every three months to determine if it needs a good cleaning or a full replacement. When your filter is dirty, it can block airflow, causing your furnace to work harder and less economically.
  • Lower the thermostat temperature. During the winter, keep the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature a few degrees lower when you’re away from your home or are sleeping to save even more.
  • Enjoy the benefits of the sun. In the winter, keep the draperies and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to reduce the chill and drafts.


  • Recycle old appliances. Whether you’ve treated yourself to a new appliance – like a refrigerator – or plan to in the new year, DTE will recycle your older refrigerator, freezer, room air conditioner, or dehumidifier for free, and you may be eligible to receive a rebate. Check out DTE’s Appliance Recycling program to learn more.
  • Position inside. Keep your freezer indoors, preferably in a basement. Extreme temperatures are hard on the compressor and can reduce the life of your freezer.

 Water Heating

  • Insulate the pipes. The first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater should be insulated to increase efficiency and protect against drastic temperature changes.
  • Wash in cold water. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.


  • Turn off devices you’re not using. Since we typically stay indoors more during the winter, we are likely using more devices to occupy our time. However, when not in use consider unplugging and turning off to save energy.

These tips, along with many others, can be found on DTE Energy’s No Cost, Low Cost Tips page to help you save money and energy all year long.


Photo credit: Simon Robben

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