Now that we’re in November, temperatures have begun dropping and we’ve all started to feel the pinch of Jack Frost. If you notice a couple people around the office that seem to be getting a little sick or sneezy, this is a good sign the chill is settling in. Also, you may notice your energy bill begin to creep up as you turn on that heater more and more often. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but from here, it’s only going to get colder. But fear not – there are a number of things you can do at home to make sure you remain both healthy and warm, all while saving you energy and money throughout the cold season!
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Number 1. Drafts and Leaks
Of course, the first thing you need to do is get rid of drafts. Personally, the window in my bedroom is notorious for leaking out the warm and letting in the cold. According to Maria Vargas, the EPA spokesperson for the Energy Star program, combining all the drafts and leaks in an average American home is the equivalent of having an open window all year round. That can do some damage if you’re trying to maintain an energy efficient home.
This can cost you a ton in energy bills, and works against you when you’re trying to stay warm.
Travel to your local hardware store and talk to the customer service representative about some easy to install, do-it-yourself (preferably) insulation. Most of the time they’ll point you in the direction of simple caulk and blank insulation. Just remember to seal up the cracks as tight as you can. If you’re just looking for a quick fix, try buying heavy drapes or hang a blanket over the window.
Number 2. Isolate your Area
Rather than try to warm the entire house, close off a few areas you know you won’t need to go into. Closing off all guest rooms, closets, and hallways means you’ll be using your energy more efficiently and it will warm everything quicker.
For these isolated rooms, also invest in some magnetic register covers. These shut off registers in unused rooms and help push the heat elsewhere. (Anyone unfamiliar with magnetic register covers should just think of big refrigerator magnet stuck to those heater vents all over the house). The heater is then able to work more efficiently by pushing more air in the rooms of your choosing!
On a similar note, use space heaters. This is one of the cost efficient heating systems out there. For example, if you’re going to be home alone, don’t bother using the thermostat. Instead, use a small area heater. The amount of heat they produce is enormous, they run quietly, and they don’t use much energy!
Number 3. Programmable Thermostat
Next, invest in a programmable thermostat so you can exercise some control over your heating. This is going to be useful in summer too. These are often easy to install and are an excellent way of trimming down your energy costs overall.
Have it set to turn on 30 minutes before you usually return home, and voilà, you have something cozy to safeguard you from the outdoors. Remember, though, to program the thermostat correctly. Otherwise, you might actually end up wasting money and heating the house when there is no need.
Number 4. Natural Light
Take full advantage of the sun when it shines through your curtains. Yes, sunlight will heat you home. If it looks to be a sunny day, leave a few blinds up and curtains back and your house will be easier to heat when you’re ready.
Also, light some candles. A few candles here and there can produce quite a bit of heat. Plus, they give off a cozy feeling. It might even be fun to have a project one day and make some candles for you and your loved ones! Of course, be careful with placement and make sure they aren’t left unattended.
Number 5. Bundle Up and Snuggle Up
Perhaps the most efficient way of staying warm this winter is to stay bundled up, even when you’re at home. No, no, you don’t have to wear a parka or 3 layers of wool socks; just keeping on a light jacket will help. Wrapping yourself up in blankets is another option. If anything, wear a beanie or a warm hat. About 75 percent of our body heat escapes out of our head, and by plugging that hole, our bodies will stay much warmer.
Finally, use body heat! The best thing you can do is to snuggle up next to a loved one on a couch. Not only will it save you money on the energy bill, but it also fits the cheery feelings of the holidays!
Whatever it is you do, hopefully it works to keep you warm. Chances are this will be a mighty cold winter, so start prepping your house today for more overall savings. Just remember: maintaining a warm house in winter requires constant vigilance! Happy holidays!