Winter is here, as are the coldest nights of the year. That means you’ve probably already gotten at least one energy bill this season, with more high-cost energy bills on the way over the next few months. Sure, you can turn off all the heat and just freeze all winter, or you can make a few simple changes and lower your bill without experiencing any frostbite in your home. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do, both big and small, that will help you get that bill down. Here is some great advice to help you plan out your heating and energy bills over the expensive winter season.
Mark Peak
Environmental Engineer

Mark Peak has been a freelance environmental engineer for more than 28 years, and he is happy to share some tips and tricks to help you lower your heating bills. He’s worked with some major organizations all over the country, helping to find solutions to the many environmental problems facing the world today. With work in everything from recycling to waste disposal to public health, air and water pollution, Peak is an expert with a lot of helpful advice to share. As Peak explains, “there are lots of little things people can do, but it’s really just being proactive.”

During The Day

Luckily, Colorado still has some pretty warm and sunny days, even during the winter. Keep your blinds open and allow the sun to come in during the day, especially if you have windows that face the sun directly. “If you’re working and there is no one in the house during the day, there is no reason to keep the heat on,” offers Peak. “On a warm day, turn the heat off and let the ambient temperature warm things, especially if you get good afternoon sun. Even in the winter in Colorado you can still be comfortable.”

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At Night

Alternatively, you’ll want to keep things closed up tightly at night. “Keep curtains closed at night, so you don’t lose heat through the windows,” Peak explains. Also, be sure not to blast the heat while you are sleeping. After all, you’ll be under covers. “I’m a big proponent of not baking in a house, so if you can keep the house at a reasonable temperature that is still comfortable — it’s not super warm but it’s not cold either — then you’ll save money on the heating bill.” So don’t set your heat to 75 or 80 at night. Keep it just as warm as you need it, while you are under the covers. Then be sure to turn it down when you leave for work the next day.

Your Hot Water Furnace

One area that you may not think about when it comes to your heating bill is your hot water furnace. “Look at your furnace, keep it on a lower setting for hot water,” Peak offers. “You may have to look into how much hot water you use, but you can turn down the furnace a couple notches and you’ll save on heat and water bills, which is a double-win.” If you’re not sure how to turn down your furnace, get some help initially, then you’ll easily be able to adjust it the rest of the year on your own.

Programmable Thermostat

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can save big on your heating bills. If you don’t have one, it may be worth looking into the cost of replacing your old thermostat. Every degree you turn down the heat can save as much as three percent on your heating bill. Plus, you can easily set the thermostat to be lower when you’re in bed and higher when you wake up. “Even the older homes, you can replace the old thermostat on the walls with ones that are better and more efficient,” Peak offers. “Having a programmable thermostat is huge actually. You can save a lot of money with a programmable thermostat.”

Solar Panels

If you have some money up front, you can save a lot of cash in the long run by investing in solar panels. It is a larger initial investment, but you may be surprised at how much you can save over a few years. As Peak explains, “We have solar panels on our roof and that is the majority of our hot water and heat. It’s a bigger investment up front, but you can save a lot of money.” Plus, as Peak offers, you may be able to save some money on your taxes, too. “I believe I did hear that there would be some more solar credits coming back, so it’s worth asking your accountant about tax credits for solar energy.”

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Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at