Residential Energy Savers: Heating Tips

If you use an electric heating system, it can account for 50% or more of your winter PUD bills. Whether you rent or own, live in a house, apartment/condo or manufactured home, you can reduce the amount of energy required to keep your home warm.

Explore the tips below for free and low-cost upgrades, as well as smart investments you can make to improve the efficiency of your heating system.

Ready to upgrade your insulation or windows or invest in a heat pump? Get the details on our weatherization incentives and loans for single family, multi-family and low-income homes.

No-Cost Tips

View all
Let the sun shine in!

Use the natural warmth of the sun to help heat your home during the winter. Open the shades on south facing windows during the day to let the sun in and close them at night to keep the warmth inside.

Savings: up to 400 kWh* per winter bill, $98 each winter.

Cost: FREE

*For the average Snohomish County single-family home with electric heat.

Set the heat at 68 degrees when you're home and awake

Set the heat at 68 degrees instead of 70 when you’re awake to save on your heating costs. For each degree you turn down your heat, you’ll save 2-3% on your heating bill. If you currently keep your home quite warm, turn down the thermostat by just 2 degrees at first, then decrease it again when you’re used to the change

Savings: up to 140 kWh* per winter bill, $34 each winter

Cost: FREE

* For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Set the heat at 55 degrees when you're away or sleeping

Set the heat at 55 when you’re sleeping or away from home and you could save as much as 10% on your heating costs. For If you currently keep your home quite warm at night, turn down the thermostat by just 2 or 3 degrees at first, then decrease it again when you’re used to the change.

Savings: up to 235 kWh* per winter bill, $58 each winter

Cost: FREE

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat, with the heat set at 55 degrees for 12 hours per day.

Keep your heat flowing.

If you have furniture or curtains in front of your wall/baseboard heaters or register vents, you could be blocking the heat they're trying to deliver. Each fall, check to be sure the heater or vent is not blocked and vacuum the heater coils or clean the registers.

Savings: up to 105 kWh* per winter bill, $26 each winter

Cost: FREE

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Zone heat with baseboard/wall heaters

If you have existing baseboard or wall heaters, turn down the thermostats in unused rooms and close the door. Since baseboard/wall heaters supply heat to each room individually, they are ideally suited to zone heating or heating the occupied rooms in your home while allowing unoccupied sections (such as empty guest rooms or seldom-used rooms) to remain cooler. Zone heating can produce energy savings of more than 20% compared to heating both occupied and unoccupied areas of your house.

Savings: up to 275 kWh* per winter bill, $68 each winter

Cost: FREE

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Low-Cost Tips

View all
Help your furnace breathe

Check the air filters of your electric furnace every month. By replacing dirty filters, you'll improve your air quality as well as save energy. Buying multi-packs of filters is a good way to be sure that you have one on hand when you need it.

Savings: up to 210 kWh* per winter bill, $52 each winter

Cost: $2-10 per filter

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Upgrade to an electronic thermostat

Installing an electronic thermostat(s) makes it easier to be sure that your home is heated efficiently. The thermostat can automatically change the temperature based on the schedule and settings that you create.

Savings: up to 235 kWh* per winter bill, $58 each winter

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Insulate outlets and light switches

You can lose 2% of your home’s heat through uninsulated outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Insulate them with foam gaskets, available at most home improvement and hardware stores, and you’ll reduce drafts and save energy.

Savings: up to 45 kWh* per winter bill, $11 each winter

Cost: $1 per outlet/switch

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Add caulk or weatherstripping to windows and doors

Adding or repairing the weather-stripping on your windows and doors can significantly reduce heat loss and drafts. This is an excellent do-it-yourself project using supplies from a local hardware store.

Savings: up to 420 kWh* per winter bill, $103 each winter

Cost: $1 per window / $10 per door

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. Up to 330 kWh for apartments/condos.

Install storm windows

If you have single pane, or older inefficient double pane, windows you can reduce heat loss with storm windows or plastic. You can also use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months.Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.

Savings: up to 420 kWh* per winter bill, $103 each winter

Cost: varies

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Seal your ductwork

Poorly sealed and uninsulated ducts in unconditioned space can lose 15-30% of your heated or cooled air before it even gets to the register. Sealing your ductwork prevents conditioned air (warmed or cooled) from escaping. Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawl space.

Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, ducts in unconditioned spaces should be sealed and insulated by qualified professionals using appropriate sealing materials.

The PUD offers cash incentives of up to $400 or low-interest loans to qualifying customers to help pay for the improvements. Get the details.

Savings: up to 500 kWh* per winter bill, $123 each winter

Cost: varies ($$)

*Based on regional average savings numbers for single family homes of 1,500 kWh per year.

Have your heat pump system serviced

Have a professional clean and inspect your heating system every other fall to ensure that it is tuned and ready for the heating season. You’ll save energy and extend the life of your heating system.

Savings: up to 200 kWh* per winter bill, $49 each winter

Cost: approximately $150

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat.

Have your furnace serviced

Have a professional clean and inspect your electric furnace every five years to ensure that it is tuned and ready for the heating season. You’ll save energy and extend the life of your furnace.

Savings: up to 420 kWh* per winter bill, $103 each winter

Cost: approximately $150

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Add a ceiling fan

Installing and using an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan to circulate the air can lower both your heating and cooling costs. Be sure to run the fan on reverse during the winter to push warm air down off the ceiling.

Savings: up to 42 kWh* per bill, $21 each year

Cost: varies

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Use a portable space heater

Using a portable space heater can save you money if you use it in place of your furnace to heat small areas. For example, using it to heat your home office while you pay bills instead of turning on the furnace to heat the whole house may save you energy. Be sure to turn off the heater when you’re not using it to prevent fires.

Savings: varies

Cost: varies

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. Up to 32  kWh for townhomes/condos.

Smart Investment Tips

View all
Upgrade to ENERGY STAR windows

Replacing your single-pane or older, inefficient double-pane windows will not only increase the value of your home, it will also reduce your home heating costs. Choose the most efficient windows (windows with a U-value of 0.35 or less) that fall within your budget and design needs.

The PUD offers cash incentives or low-interest loans to qualifying customers who  invest in new efficient windows and sliding glass doors. Get the details.

Incentives are also available for upgrades to multi-family buildings, get the details.

Savings: up to 660 kWh* per winter bill for when replacing single pane windows ($158 per winter); up to 460 kWh* per bill for when replacing existing double pane windows with metal frames ($110 per winter).

Cost: varies ($$$)

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Upgrade your insulation

Properly insulating your home will not only help reduce your heating and cooling costs but also make your home more comfortable. Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can usually reduce your energy bills as much as 10% by adding more insulation.

The PUD offers cash incentives or low-interest loans to qualifying customers with electric heat. Get the details.

Savings: 690 kWh per winter bill, or about $178 each winter

Cost: varies

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Upgrade to an efficient air source heat pump

If you heat with a forced air electric furnace or zonal systems, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 50-60%. If your electric furnace, or current heat pump, needs to be replaced, look for a high-efficiency geothermal or air source system. If your home does not have an existing duct system, consider upgrading to a ductless heat pump system (get the details on our ductless heat pump rebates).

The PUD offers incentives or low-interest loans to qualifying customers who replace an electric furnace or baseboard/wall heaters with an efficient heat pump. Get the details.

Savings: up to 1,150 kWh* per winter bill if replacing an electric furnace ($283 each winter); up to 335 kWh* winter per bill if replacing an older inefficient air source heat pump ($82 each winter).

Cost: $$$

*For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat. 

Upgrade to a geothermal heat pump

Geothermal heat pumps are even more efficient than air source heat pumps. If your electric furnace, or current heat pump, needs to be replaced consider installing a geothermal heat pump system.

The PUD offers incentives or low-interest loans to qualifying customers who replace an electric furnace, baseboard/wall heaters or an older air source heat pump with a geothermal heat pump. Get the details.

Savings: an average of 1,665 kWh* per winter bill if replacing an electric furnace ($410 each winter); an average of 1333 kWh* per winter bill if replacing an older inefficient air source heat pump ($328 each winter).

Cost: $$$$

* For the average Snohomish County single family home with electric heat.