Here are a few simple things you can do to cut down on your heating bills while staying warm.
Load Up on Winter Textiles to Warm up Your Home. Blankets, rugs, throws, and curtains all insulate a room for a cozier and warmer space.
A small runner next to your bed, large area rug in the living room or bathmat in your bathroom will keep you (and your feet) away from the cold floor.
Swap your sateen/percale sheets for flannel/microfiber. They will feel warmer to the touch and insulate better. A down comforter will hold your body heat in.
Heat from the sun is free, so make the most of it. Open your heavier insulating curtains and let the sunlight in during the day. When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which will act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. Tip: For each square foot of window that you insulate at night saves about 1 gal. of oil or nearly 1.5 cubic feet of gas a year, which means that insulating curtains pay for themselves in around seven years.
Deal with Drafts. Doors, windows, and cracks can leak cold air into your home. To keep your house as warm as possible, you will need to isolate the gaps that let the cold air in. Tip: To find drafts, wait for a windy day, close all windows and doors, and light a stick of incense or a candle. Hold it in places you suspect drafts are originating. If the incense smoke looks unsteady or wavering or gets blown into the room or sucked out, you have found a drafty spot.
Keep doors closed to all your rooms.
You can also keep the heat where it is needed by making sure some interior doors, such as those leading to hallways or near stairways, are kept shut. This closes off natural air passageways so they cannot act as chimneys, allowing warm air to escape up through the house.
Keep the fireplace flue closed when not in use.
Use caulk or expanding foam to seal up wiring holes or a leaky window.
Place a “draft snake”, like a bean bag or a rolled-up towel at the base of your door to keep a draft out. Tip: To make a fabric snake, sew a long thin cloth sack which you fill with dried peas or rice using scrap fabrics.
Use Smart Heating & Cooling Wisely. Smart heating and cooling systems are readily available to make comfort on demand easy. You can wirelessly control your home’s heating system nowadays, thanks to a smart thermostat and home zoning.
The secret to the warmest, coziest, and most cost-efficient smart heating and cooling system is to set up your home in zones. Home zoning means that cooling or heating goes to the areas you are likely to be using and save money and energy by focusing heating and cooling in the areas you use most frequently. A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times of the day because you do not need to keep your home at 68 degrees around the clock.
Lower the Thermostat. Each degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system, decreases your fuel bill by 3 percent. Going from 72 degrees down to 68 degrees does not matter much in terms of comfort, but it can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill.
An open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape up the chimney as a wide-open 48-inch window lets out. Make sure your flu is closed when you do not have a fire going.
In fact, it is a good idea to reduce the number of times you use your wood fireplace. A roaring fire exhausts over 20,000 cubic feet of heated air per hour to the outside. It feels warm by the fire, but every British Thermal Unit (BTU) that goes up the chimney is replaced by cold air pulled into the house elsewhere. And all that cold air has to be heated--a costly prospect. Tip: 1 BTU is the energy needed to heat or cool one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level.
The Spin on Ceiling Fans. Ceiling fans are very popular in most houses. Spinning counterclockwise, they move air around the room.
Heat rises. And if you have tall ceilings, the warmest place in your home is near the ceiling. Set the fan’s switch to reverse mode so the blades spin clockwise instead of counterclockwise to push warm air back down where you can enjoy it. (“winter mode.”)
This trick works best if your fan has several speed settings. Run your fan at the very lowest speed possible in order to not create a draft and cool the room.
Utilize space heaters, but with caution. Space heaters are excellent for keeping individual rooms warm. The danger is that they are a high-risk fire hazard. To ensure the safety of your household, keep any flammable material at least three feet away, and make sure the heater is on an even and stable surface.
Never leave space heaters on overnight or when you leave the home. Make sure to buy only timed space heaters that turn off after 1-4 hours.
It is a good idea to only use space heaters that shut off automatically when tipped over, especially around children.
Tip: You may want to invest in a home generator in case you lose power during a winter storm. Decide if you want enough power for your refrigerator or your whole house. Creative Spaces Remodeling can assist in assessing your home’s needs and installing the generator of your choice.
With Old Man Winter nipping at your toes, hopefully these few tips will keep you warm. If you need any assistance with updating drafty or chilly areas of your home, Creative Spaces Remodeling can work with you to upgrade insulation, new roofing, windows, or even heated flooring.