15 Ways To Stay Warm This Winter
…and Lower Your Heating Bill!
Properly preparing your home for winter time temperatures can save energy, help keep your winter heating bills under control, and keep you and your family warm and comfortable. Here are 15 simple and economical ways to get the most out of your home heating system and get a better handle on your winter energy bills.
- Get a Programmable Thermostat. Lowering the thermostat by just one degree Fahrenheit can reduce energy use by 3 percent. With a programmable thermostat, you control exactly when and where heat is run in your home. You can automatically lower the temperature of your home at night when you’re in bed and or during the day when you’re at work. You can also set the heat to run in certain rooms only. Installing one of these devices can pay for itself in energy savings in as early as one season.
- Air Seal Your Home. Keeping warm air in and cold air out can save as much as 30% on your heating bill. Inspect every outdoor facing wall, door, window and duct for cracks, air leaks and drafts. Caulk, weatherstrip or tape any leaks you detect. Use mastic rather than duct tape; it provides a better seal.
- Insulate Your Attic. The vast majority of heat in any home is lost through the roof, thus it goes without saying that you need to have significant insulation in your attic. Also, check the insulation in other ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces. 7″ is the minimum recommended thickness.
- Insulate Your Hot Water Heater. Most hot water heaters are already well insulated, but many older heaters lose a lot of unnecessary heat. If you have an older hot water heater, try wrapping it with an insulation blanket. This will keep more heat inside, keeping your water warm for showers and cleaning.
- Dress Warm Inside. There’s no need to keep your house at a high temperature when you can easily put on an extra sweater or sweatshirt…or cuddle up in a blanket. Your own trapped in body heat will keep you just as warm as those few extra degrees and won’t cost a penny.
- Minimize The Use of Vent Fans. Try not to use kitchen or bathroom vent fans; they just suck out warm air and send it outside. If you need to ventilate a room, try using a regular table top fan; this will at least send warm air to other areas of the house.
- Turn Off Heat in Unused Rooms. Got a guest room no one uses? A den or rec room that doesn’t see much action? Close all the heating vent in any room you don’t use very much. This works well if you have well-insulated interior walls. Even if you’don’t, you’ll still get a slight boost from it.
- Use Space Heaters. If you tend to hang out in only 1-2 rooms in your house, lower your thermostat even more and put a portable space heater in the rooms where you spend most of your time. Using a space heater to heat up a part of a room is much cheaper than using a furnace to heat your entire house.
- Replace Your Heating Filters on a Regular Basis. Fresh filters are a must to maintain air quality and to keep your furnace clean and performing at peak efficiency. Accumulated dust and dirt can block the flow of heat and make your furnace have to work harder than it needs to.
- Follow the Sun. Sunlight coming in through your windows can heat up your indoors even on a very cold day. On the flip side, heat can easily escape through windows where there’s no sunlight. Be sure to keep blinds and curtains open on the sunny side of the house; closed where the sun isn’t. As the sun moves across the sky during the day, open and close your shades appropriately.
- Eat at Home. Cooking in your kitchen adds heat to the entire home…and it’s a lot cheaper than eating at a restaurant.
- Take a Hot Water Bottle To Bed. Microwave a hot water bottle before bed each night. Get it very warm, then wrap it gently in a sheet or blanket and put it in bed with you to warm it up in no time. The bed will be so warm that you can even lower the thermostat a few degrees.
- Install a Humidifier. Moister air feels warmer than dry air, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable even though your thermostat is set at a lower temperature.
- Close Fireplace Dampers. Fireplaces look nice, but most add no or little heat to a room. In fact they draw warm air out of your house and shoot it straight up the chimney. Try to minimize fireplace usage on very cold days. When not in use, close the fireplace damper and seal the opening shut. Also, consider installing a sheet-metal insert in the back of the fireplace to prevent some heat loss and help reflect heat back into the room.
- Exercise. Being active produces body heat. The more active you are, the better your blood circulation will be. This will mean that hot blood gets to your extremities, keeping them warm. 20 minutes of vigorous exercise can warm you up and keep you warm well after the exercise session. Healthier bodies are generally more tolerant of the cold. As an added benefit, you’ll look great in the spring and summer!
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