With the winter months come soaring electric bills, especially in the colder climates. As those temperatures drop, that envelop from the electric company seems to get fatter and fatter. After all, you’ve got to work hard to keep the house warm, cozy, and inviting. It truly is a conundrum: you want it to be warm, but not at the cost of having shell out hundreds each month. Not only is it inefficient for your dollars, but it is also harsh on the environment.
Here are 9 tips to beat the cold outside this winter. These tips will help save you big dollars on heating all year long!
Number 1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
The first thing you want to do is prepare your home for the cold temperatures outside, and that means insulating. Insulating is a key way to keep energy costs down as it keeps the cold out and the warm in. This does a great job at increasing your efficiency and lowering that electric bills – weatherization is key to becoming more efficient!
To insulate, identify anywhere that might have a leak or a draft (areas around doors/windows, attics, piping). Depending on how many drafts you need to seal up, you could be spending as little as $20-30 on insulation material. Caulking is one option, but many hardware stores also carry 1 sided insulating tape – just slap it on the bottom and sides of doors and you’re set! It’s also a good idea to insulate pipes in your home. This way you won’t depend on the heater to make sure you have running water.
Number 2. Fix What’s Been Broken
When you’re working through your insulating project, you might stumble across some things that are broken – maybe a cracked window, wiggly door handle, or even small holes. If you want to be efficient, you’ve got to take care of these problems! Spend a day or so on a “fix the home” project and keep that cold out!
Number 3. Choose an Area
With the leaks and crack remedied, it helps to choose a specific area to warm and stick to it. Close off doors and use an area heater for yourself. There’s no point in warming the whole house if you’re only in one room all day! If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you might consider turning on the heater 20-30 minutes before everyone gets home. That way, you’ll only be using energy when you really need it!
Number 4. Unplug
While this can go for both summer and winter, it’s important to keep in mind this simple rule: if you’re not using it, unplug it. Known as “vampire power”, appliances will leech power from your home even when they aren’t in use. In winter, when you’re already stressed because of the high heating bills, making sure you’re protected from vampire power is a great way to save some money!
You might think this is pretty tough – having to unplug and replug everything – right? Don’t fret, with products like Eco Strip, you can make sure nothing is being leeched from your grid!
Number 5. Use Natural Heat Sources when Possible
Although you’ll be hard pressed to lay in the sun when there is a blizzard outside, try to get those natural rays of warmth when you can. Using the sun to warm your home is, of course, free – let’s use that power!
Another to get “natural” warmth is to employ the use of candles or oil lamps. Those these do come with a cost, they’re great at warming a room ever so slightly. Paired up with an area heater, these help you stay warm at exceptionally low costs.
Number 6. Layer Up
Another great way to warm yourself without using electricity is to simply layer up! Rather than warm your house to a cozy 78, throw on that sweater and wrap up in a blanket. If you were to layer up instead of using your heater, the whole “high cost of heating” problem would go away! Well, if you can’t manage that, you can still save a lot by layering up when possible!
Number 7. Get Active
Still cold? Try running around your house once or twice. Getting active gets your blood pumping, warms your boy, and comes will all the regular benefits of exercise. Jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, yoga – indeed anything that involves physical activity is going to get you feeling warmer, and not at the expense of your pocket! Heck, just wiggle your toes!
Number 8. Snuggle
Whether it’s with a dog, cat, or a significant other, snuggling means sharing body heat, and you won’t see a bill for that from the power company. Get yourself a good snuggle buddy and grab a movie or something fun to watch. Combine this with some elements of layering up and you can have a cozy blanket paradise.
Number 9. Time it Out
Last but certainly not least, be sure you’re putting your thermostat on a timer. This is especially useful if you’re not home all day but would like to have a warm home to return to. This is also a great tool for when you go to sleep – only periodically use the heat at night, maybe in 2-3 hour intervals. As the days and nights go by, the time you save without the heater will start to add up to some major savings!
Now get out there and get efficient!