With winter almost here, a lot of the world is getting colder right now (except for if you are in Los Angeles, like me). The dips in temperature cause us to want to turn on the heat, but then when we get the bill, we’re shocked to see it’s a few hundred dollars. Below, you’ll find easy tips on how to save energy—and money—without freezing in the process.
1. Check Your Thermostat
Oftentimes, we’ll blast the heat… only to go to work and forget to turn the temperature back down. So, in essence, we pay to heat a house all day with no on home. Even when you are home, Energy.gov says to keep the temperature as low as you can stand it.
Growing up in Chicago, I know my family loved to keep it cold—“Put on more layers,” was their response. I didn’t understand it at the time, until I got my own place and own energy bill to pay. So, always check your thermostat and adjust accordingly!
2. Turn The Thermostat Waaaaaay Down
Not only does Energy.gov suggest keeping your temps low, but they also say to turn it very low, down to 10 or 15 degrees for about eight hours.
Overall, you will save approximately 10% a year on your energy bill. Chances are, we’re all out of the house at least eight hours a day, so why not give it a try?
3. Wear Thick Socks
Similar to my family telling me to wear more layers, Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar blog, agrees and must have had similar parents.
“I work from home in Iowa, and I’ve learned that there’s no better way to stay warm in the winter at home than to wear thick socks,” he said. “Thick socks keep my feet warm even if I keep the temperature in the house low, and feet are one of the primary thermal indicators for the body as well as being a relatively poorly circulated extremity. Keep the feet warm and the rest of you will be fine.”
Seems easy enough, right?
4. Seal Those Windows
There are all kinds of window sealants out there, and you need to find one that works best for you. But, no matter which one you choose, if you live somewhere like Chicago (where it feels like Antarctica in the winter), seal away!
In any case, make sure you seal tightly in order to avoid any drafts coming in from outside. Believe me, you’ll know if you did this incorrectly the first moment you feel a cold breeze come in!
Take a trip to the hardware store or Home Depot, and they can usually even show you how to best seal your windows. You can also check out Simplemost’s story, DIY: 8 ways to draft-proof your doors and windows at home.
5. Seal Other Airways, Like Mailboxes And Doggie Doors
A lot of people miss smaller, yet obvious, places were cold air can seep inside their homes, like through their keyholes, doggie doors, mailboxes, you name it.
You can grab a keyhole cover at the hardware store and fill doggie doors with insulation (like a blanket) or get one that’s more energy efficient.
Here’s how to insulate your mailbox, too. “It’s amazing how even a small draught can make a room a lot colder, so if you can cut that bit of air out it immediately makes a difference,” Interior Designer Claire Potter told BBC News.
6. Get Some Thick Curtains
And curtains aren’t just to cover the windows. Experts also suggest putting them up in front of doors leading to the outside. “My gran used to have an old rug that she used to pin up over the back of the front door,” Potter told BBC News.
7. Let There Be Light
Even though you now have insulated curtains, it’s important to keep them open in the daytime and let in the light—i.e., natural heat. Once again, this will enable you to turn your thermostat down (or off), and save you more money.
When night comes, close them so your house retains that daytime heat.
8. Don’t Block Your Radiators
If you have a couch or dresser in front of your radiator(s) or air vents, all you’re doing is warming them up instead of yourself. So, move inanimate objects away from your radiators and you’re sure to feel an increase in warmth.
9. Bake Something In The Oven
Yes, my family in Chicago did this, too—they’d turn the heat down (or off!) and opt to bake something instead.
“Not only will the food preparation save you money, you’ll also find that the oven is far more energy efficient in the winter,” Hamm, of The Simple Dollar blog, said. “It works with the warming of your house rather than against the summer cooling of your house.”
10. Keep Doors Closed
If a certain bedroom (or other room) door doesn’t have to be open, keep its door closed to preserve the heat in your main room. Besides, you should all be huddling together in the same room, anyway, for added heat!