Old man winter is rearing his ugly head. This generally means energy costs tend to rise as we attempt to keep ourselves nice and toasty. During the winter months, between 40 and 70 percent of home energy is wasted! Try out some of these affordable tips to both help out our environment as well as to keep a few dollars in your wallet. Mother Earth and your pocketbook will thank you.
1. Just turn it down
When you go to bed and work, turn your heater down a few degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 – 15 degrees for eight hours. It also gives you an excuse to break out those flannel sheets you love. Note that if you leave, you should never turn your heat completely off. Then, not only do you risk some frozen pipes (quite messy, I assure you from personal experience) but heating the house back up will actually use more energy and cost you more money than just turning it down a few. If you don’t want to spend the time and effort manually changing your thermostat every day, you can get a smart thermostat to manage it.
2. It’s curtains for you
A good way to keep those drafts from coming in the windows is to put up curtains. It is a relatively cheap way to keep the cold out and it also pretties up the room a bit. If you decide to go this route, make sure you open them during the day and close them at night. The sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Use some of that heat to warm up your home during the day while keeping the curtains closed to keep out the midnight cold. Plastic window covers are also a good way to seal up those windows.
3. Get a humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air. Dry air tends to be colder than moist air because moist air will hold heat better. Plus, it helps sinuses and lets you breath easier while you are sleeping. If you like, you can also add a few house plants to the home. It pretties it up while also helping to keep the air moist.
4. Reverse it
While it may sound a little odd, running your ceiling fan the opposite directions can help your home. Since warm air tends to rise, turning your fan to the clockwise position pull air upwards in the middle of the room, pushing the hot air at the top of the room to the sides and down the wall. It can boost the temperature of your floor level by as much as five degrees.
5. Keep it clean
Replace or clean furnace filters as recommended. Dirty filters can restrict airflow and increase energy use. As the filter becomes clogged, the air cannot pass through the system which can cause overheating. Also, those who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues will find that a dirty air filter can greatly change the feel of the home. When you go into winter with a clean filter, your unit (and wallet) will stay nice and tidy.
6. Seal it
Pesky drafts can come in from every nook and cranny in your home. Weather stripping from your hardware store will only cost a couple of bucks. Place those in your windows and doors and cover up the bottoms of your doors with a towel or a door strip. Also, make sure your chimney is sealed nice and tight. It’s great to sit by the fire with a cup of cocoa, but when it’s not going, and your flute is left open, it’s like leaving a window wide open. If it doesn’t seal all of the way, block the airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon or towel.
Keep warm this winter!