Winter is nesting season. Chilly temperatures make us want to bury ourselves in layers of blankets, hot cocoa in one hand, remote in the other. All that extra time spent indoors can seriously inflate your energy bills and kill your toasty vibe. Enter energy-efficient products. A little up-front investment can add up to significant savings in the long run. We’ve rounded up some of the best energy-efficient items on the market, from smart thermostats to micathermic heaters.
1. Electric Water Kettle
Who doesn’t love a hot cuppa during the winter months? Electric water kettles are a kitchen staple that transfers heat energy directly from the heating element to the water, making them 81% efficient. Stovetop boiling, on the other hand, is only 30.5% efficient, as energy is wasted through the transference of heat from the heating element to pot and pot to water. Using an electric kettle, rather than the stove, to heat your morning beverage would reduce your daily electricity usage by .07 kWh, resulting in yearly savings of 25.5 kWh.¹ Add to this the electricity saved on every french press, soup, and pasta dish you make in a year, and you’ve made a significant dent in your energy usage. Not all electric kettles are created equal, however, so make sure to choose a model with eco-friendly features like rapid boil, keep warm, and cup indicator functionality.
2. Energy-efficient Lighting
LED lightbulbs are a great way to decrease energy costs year-round, but they’re especially helpful during the winter months when lights are used for longer periods. These lights use up to 25% less power than traditional lights, without compromising on performance or aesthetics. The latter hasn’t always been the case, as the blue-ish glow emitted by early LEDs created an inferior ambiance that was more interruptive of circadian rhythms. Newer models come in warm tones that resemble incandescents, so you don’t have to sacrifice atmosphere to save energy.
3. Micathermic Heater
These heaters use a combination of radiant and convective heat to quickly and quietly heat rooms up to 200 square meters in size. Many models come with a digital thermostat or remote control for added convenience. Especially for sealed areas of the home unconnected to central heating and air, portable micathermic space heaters offer a viable heating option. You can find wall-mounted or free-standing options for less than $100 online.
4. Smart Power Strip
You’ve heard of vampire electricity, right? It’s the energy wasted through unused appliances and devices left plugged in even when they’re not in use. You can save tons of energy by unplugging lamps, televisions, and desktop computers after using them, but plugs for these common devices are often strategically tucked behind cabinets and hidden under rugs to conceal unsightly cord tangles. That’s where smart power strips come in. You can program them to shut off power when your devices go into standby mode or at certain times of day, thereby significantly reducing your household energy consumption.
5. Programmable Thermostat
Smart thermostats are an energy efficiency game changer. Products like the Amazon Smart Thermostat, Ecobee Smart Thermostat, and Nest Learning Thermostat learn your habits and preferences — like the hours during which you leave the house and the temperatures you prefer at different times of day. Then they’ll automatically adjust your home’s temperature according to your tendencies. Most smart thermostats are also WiFi-enabled, so you can check and modify your settings from anywhere.
6. Spoiler Showerhead
Few luxuries rival the simple pleasure of a hot shower on a cold morning. But those ten extra minutes you spend procrastinating your reentry into the cold bathroom air can significantly increase your hot water bills over time. Spoiler showerheads are designed to channel water more efficiently. Don’t worry — it won’t spoil your self-care. Adjustable spray settings and water pressure control allow you to experience consistent and even spray while using less water. For less than $20, you can make your shower routine more sustainable and, dare we say, more enjoyable.
7. Smart Refrigerators
While it’s tempting to opt for less expensive appliances, you may ultimately pay more for an inefficient refrigerator over time. Smart refrigerators use roughly 10% less energy than models manufactured a decade ago. Those savings are the result of recent compressor innovations, energy-efficient LED lighting, and sophisticated temperature controls. The extra bells and whistles available in many of these refrigerators — such as notifications that alert you when your water filter needs to be replaced — are an added bonus. Upgrading to energy-efficient washers and dryers is another great way to save money over time.
8. Slow Cooker
With cold weather comes the craving for hearty, warming meals. Slow cookers allow you to prepare delicious soups, stews, and one-pot meals with little investment of time and energy. You can set your slow cooker on low in the morning and return home to a delicious, hot meal at night. Many models cost less than $100 online, making these an efficient, low-cost investment for any home.
9. Water Heater Cover
One of the easiest ways to avoid losing heat from your water heater is to have it covered. You can purchase insulation covers or jackets for less than $20 online. By covering your water heater, you could save as much as 9% on water-heating expenses. It’s a small price to pay for big savings year after year.
These are but a few of the many energy-efficient products that can save you money this winter. By investing in energy-conserving items, you not only save money long-term, but also add practical tools to your domestic space that can enhance your quality of life for years to come.