Cut your heating bill this winter by applying the following simple, safe practices. They don’t cost a lot of money, yet are strategies anyone can use. These ideas will help you feel warm in a cooler space. That translates into happy savings when you get your winter heating bill.
BE SAVVY ABOUT HEATING INEFFICIENCES
Keep your heating system running in top form. Change furnace filters regularly during the heating season. A dirty filter can increase your fuel cost by as much as 30% and cause your equipment to break down sooner. Before the cold season hits, pick up several filters to have on hand. During the heating season, be sure to remove leaves, ice, or snow from an exterior heat pump to keep it running at optimum value.
Prevent heat loss through windows by adding layers of coverings. Add sheers and a heavier drape over blinds. Multiple layers help keep the warmth inside and the cold air outside. Use curtains that reach the floor. Daylight is important for your mental health. When you are home close only the blinds and drapes on the windows facing north or west, which generally get the coldest air.
When the sun is out on a cold day, be sure to let its warmth in through the windows. If you will be gone all day, check the hourly weather forecast the evening before or in the morning to decide whether to keep the curtains open or closed in each part of the house. Close blinds and drapes at evening.
Cut back on heat loss when opening an exterior door. When you bring home groceries, carry all the bags up to the door. Open it just once to take in all the groceries. If you have a helper, you can pass bags through quickly. Buy groceries during the warmer hours of the day or week. Stock up on pantry and freezer items before the cold weather season arrives.
PLAN ACTIVITIES WITH FUEL EFFICIENCY IN MIND
Turn the thermostat down when you are gone. Plan ahead to spend cold afternoons at a nearby mall, library, coffee shop, or take turns visiting your friends. Experiment to find out how cool you can set the temperature while you are gone. With today’s efficient furnaces and heat pumps, it often takes less time and fuel to raise the temperature back to your at-home preference.
Close heat vents and doors to occasionally used rooms. Gather around the kitchen table while dinner is cooking and soak up the warmth and love. If you have multiple places to watch TV, consolidate the family to the smaller space, or turn the TV off and play a table game together in the warm kitchen.
A chunky candle set on a safe surface away from anything flammable adds warmth physically and visually. That makes you feel warmer too. Use that same idea and add warmer colors to your living space with rugs, pillows, afghans, and artwork. Make simple switches in your décor for the cold season.
TURN UP YOUR INTERNAL THERMOSTAT
Rev up your interior furnace with hot drinks and food. Prepare soups, casseroles, and other hot foods for dinner. Hearty crock-pot meals fill the house with wonderful aroma; and they cost less to prepare than an oven or range top cooked meal.
When you use the oven, bake several things at a time. If you don’t have small children or pets, leave the door ajar afterwards to add warmth to the kitchen area.
Eat salads and raw veggies during the warmer part of the day or week and choose the hot versions for evenings and colder days. Make grilled cheese sandwiches or pair a mug of hot chocolate, or tomato soup with a cold sandwich. Bake your own cookies or bread to save money and warm up the kitchen.
THE BENEFIT OF PLANTS
Indoor plants make you think you are in a warmer clime. The oxygen they produce will keep your household healthier. A healthy body feels warmer than a less healthy one
CHOOSING CLOTHES AND CHORES
Dress in layers and use natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk blends. Comfy, warm socks, and silk or cotton long johns will keep you warm. Layer blankets on your bed and turn the thermostat down several degrees at night. A warm one-piece pajama will keep children and adults snuggly all night long. Add a t-shirt under that for even more warmth.
Do things that make you feel warm and happy. A smile or laughter increases your body heat by increasing your blood flow. Use your exercise routine to get your blood flowing. Warm up with household chores that are physical, such as changing bed-sheets or vacuuming.
These little tricks will reduce your fuel bill enough that you will notice the difference. When you make simple fuel-efficient lifestyle choices a habit, the rewards will show up not only in your own budget, but also in your carbon footprint on this planet. That makes everyone feel warm all over.