So, you survived the polar vortex, but the resulting electric bill threatens to lighten your wallet considerably. As the brisk winter months continue, you may be wondering if there is some way to avoid, or at the very least, lessen additional costly utility charges. Let me offer a few practical, inexpensive ways that will save energy, the planet, and your bank account as we navigate the final weeks of Ol’e Man Winter.
1. If you have extra or currently unused spaces in your home, like a spare bedroom, basement, or den, close the vents currently heating the area. This will redirect heat to more trafficked areas such as the living room and kitchen.
2. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable for your family. In addition, reduce the temperature both when you leave your home as well as at night for more comfortable sleeping. Consider investing in some cozy flannel sheets and a fluffy, warm comforter for those extra chilly nights.
3. Not interested in turning down your thermostat? Just add a few extra layers. Get extra cozy with fuzzy socks, slippers, and sweatshirts or woolen sweaters. In addition, make throws and blankets readily available for TV watching and game times. Also consider adding an area rug or two as they will aid in insulating the floors.
4. Cold air can leak into the home through gaps and cracks in windows, doors and more. Seal all such breezy passageways with a waterproof sealant like caulk or weather stripping to keep cold air out and warm air in.
5. Dirty or clogged air filters can cause heating systems to utilize more energy in order to compensate for poor airflow. Replace your filters every 30-90 days to ensure a proper airflow and a consistently warm home. Also, make sure to keep your furnace and vents clean and unblocked at all times.
6. Did you know that adding moisture to a home allows the air to hold heat more effectively? In fact, the denser air allows occupants to feel more comfortable, even if you turn down your thermostat. In a similar fashion, introducing house plants increases the moisture level.
Bonus Tip! During the day, open shades, blinds, and draperies on south-facing windows. This will allow the sun to naturally warm your home; however, don’t forget to close window coverings at sunset in order to avoid heat loss.
May the duration of your Winter be safe, and warm!