We are nearing the “dead of winter” as they say. As the weeks progress, so do the temperatures — downward. This is the time of year when we think about staying warm, while trying to keep our energy costs affordable. Here are some suggestions for doing just that:
Embrace any and all sunlight
Sunlight has been the earth’s furnace since the beginning of time. Take advantage of sunlight on the days it’s available this winter. Keeping your curtains or blinds on south-facing windows open during the day will bring in the most sunlight, in turn creating a natural source of heat to help warm your home and cut energy costs. Make sure to close your curtains and blinds in the evening to ensure the heat stays in and doesn’t seep back out through cold windows.
Locate drafts and block them
Identifying gaps around doors and windows before the winter months begin could save you money in energy costs and lead to your home being heated more efficiently. Drafts, which come through these gaps, force your furnace to work harder and make your utility bills more expensive. Look into installing draft stoppers, applying self-adhesive weather stripping to doors and placing plastic film over your windows.
Add moisture to the air
The advantage of moist air is that it holds heat better. If more heat is held in the air, your furnace will run less and save you money in the long run. To create moisture in the air, think about getting a humidifier, place a pan of water near your radiator, or keep the exhaust fan off after a hot shower to help your home-heating efforts.
Keep water temperatures down
This might seem like a nearly impossible task in the winter months. We all love a hot shower after getting out from under warm blankets in the morning, but lowering your water heater’s temperature to the “warm” or “normal” (120°F) setting will cut back the energy used to heat water in your home.
Turn down the thermostat
As the temperatures outside continue to grow colder, your furnace wants to run more frequently. This means increased energy costs. When you’re not home during the day, consider lowering the thermostat setting by 10-15 degrees. Even a difference of a few degrees will help you in cutting costs. When you finally arrive home and it’s time to turn the temperature up, try setting it as low as comfortably possible and wear layers or get under a blanket to create extra free heat for yourself.