A cold snap set in this week and it has me thinking about staying warm. For some reason I have a greater tolerance for cold than I do heat so it seems more manageable for me to find little ways to whittle our heating bills this time of year. I am sure that many folks are doing the same. We want to pinch pennies and divert them elsewhere. It’s also a bonus that saving money on energy usage means we are saving precious resources too.
For me this has been a work in process ever since we moved to Ohio. One year we invested in several sets of thermal blackout curtains. Another year I spent days making draft snakes to put along each door and inside each window. This year we replaced our dinosaur furnace and rearranged furniture for better insulation. I have our wool blankets that we picked up in Mexico at the ready to hang on walls or windows. Yesterday I was packing up some children’s play rugs to donate when I decided to put them on our cold basement floor instead. Now I will be cozier when I go down there to wash laundry and since the rugs are all sorts of wild colors it is very cheery down there. Every little change helps and I can look at our gas bill and smile rather than want to pass out.
Here are some other easy tips for warming your home for winter, conserving energy, and saving money:
- Open the oven after cooking your meals and let the heat escape
- Close vents and doors in rooms that are not used regularly (guest room, storage room)
- Close blinds and curtains each night
- Use thick insulating, thermal curtains in winter, especially on northern facing windows
- Layer your window coverings like you layer your clothing, add shears on the inside to help with drafts
- Add extra insulation to your attic
- Seal leaks around doors, vents, outlets, and windows with caulking
- Check your furnace filter often and clean it to help with efficiency
- Clean furnace vents and make sure they are not blocked, especially in children’s rooms (ie clothes, toys on floor)
- Turn down your thermostat low each night, get a programmable thermostat if you forget
- Replace your old furnace or boiler with a newer and more energy efficient model
- Use draft snakes to seal gaps. To make roll up small blankets / towels or fill up panty hose with rice
- Caulk your windows, outside first, then inside (using a temporary silicone caulk)
- Use dryer lint to stuff inside window panes to insulate
- Close cupboards and drawers…they insulate
- Use thick blankets and quilts to cover windows
- Hang quilts on walls (in medieval times they used to hang tapestries for this purpose)
- Bake and use the oven instead of microwaves and crock pots
- Dress warm, drink hot tea or coffee, wear a blanket, and layer clothing
- Open curtains during sunny days, especially southern facing windows
- Put bookshelves, book cases, filing cabinets, ect against outside walls
- Move beds, couches, recliners, computer desks (ie where you sit/sleep/live) to inside walls
- Cover vinyl or leather cloches and chairs with slipcovers or blankets
- Cover window unit air conditioners with a quilt or mattress pad to block drafts
- Flip the switch on seasonal reverse switches on ceiling fans to blow warm air downward
- Insulate your garage door
- Add a storm door for extra door insulation
- Open your dishwasher immediately after running to let hot air/steam out
- Wrap your hot water heater with a Thermal Blanket.
- Plant trees. They save money by providing a wind break in the winter, which keeps you warmer. In summer they save you money by providing shade. Trees are awesome.
Do you have any tips to share??