Since Thanksgiving is just a week away, winter will be here before you know it. And that means higher energy bills are coming. Fortunately, there are eight simple ways to save money and the environment by reducing your need for heat this winter:
1. Lower your thermostat. When you know that no one will be home, turn down your heat. It can be turned down while everyone’s sleeping at night, too. (A programmable thermostat makes this very easy.) If you won’t be home, there’s no sense in keeping your empty house warm.
And if you are going to be home and are concerned about rising energy bills, don’t crank up the heat. You can save three percent on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat. In my home we keep the thermostat set to 67 or 68 degrees – it’s a little chilly (because I’m always cold), but not terrible. I’ve been in homes that are kept around 65 degrees.
2. If you lower your thermostat, of course your home will feel cooler. It’s OK. It’s winter. Just bundle up with sweaters, sweatshirts, and thick socks. Get in the habit of using a blanket when you’re sitting around your home, and add a blanket or two to your bed for chilly winter nights.
3. Close off your house. Do you hardly use certain rooms in your home? Close the vents in these rooms, then close the doors. By doing this, you won’t have to heat so much space in your home.
4. Keep your heating vents open. For the rooms in your house that you do use, make sure your heating vents are open and unobstructed by furniture or rugs.
5. Keep your wood-burning fireplace damper shut. Cuddling by a toasty fire is so great in the winter. But once the fire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold, don’t forget to shut the damper – or your home’s heat will travel right up the chimney.
It’s extremely important to note that you need to wait until the ashes are cold so you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. And if your fireplace has installed gas logs, keep the damper open all the time to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Remember to turn off kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans. These fans can suck a home’s warm air right out of the house.
7. Be smart about your windows. Open your curtains and blinds if your windows face the sun during the day. Once the sun goes down, close all window coverings. Consider using heavy or insulated drapes to keep cold air from coming in the windows, and hang drapes where the window meets the window frame to help block drafts.
8. Only use a space heater in the room you’re spending time in – and unplug it whenever you’re not in the room.
Tomorrow I’ll share affordable changes you can make while winterizing your home.