Keeping the house warm and toasty sounds great this time of year, but comfort usually comes with a cost. Most of us know that as it gets colder we’ll either have to sacrifice some money in order to stay warm or some warmth in order to save money. Here are some tips for keeping warm this winter without costing a pretty penny or using up unnecessary energy.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
This might come across as counterproductive if you are trying to stay warm, but this actually can help you save a little money on those costly heating bills. If you turn your fans on a low speed it will help warm air constantly move throughout your house. Often times due to the shape and placement of vents in a home, warm air rushes up in one direction, but doesn’t have a way to flow freely from room to room. Set your fan to a clockwise motion. This will push warm air down instead of it just rising up to the ceiling. With a nice, even distribution of air, you won’t have to crank up the heat too often this season.
Check Your Window Moldings
Any home will shift over time. If you live in a particularly old home (30 years old or more) you may notice that your windows have started to form little cracks and possibly even openings around the window frame. Of course, having new windows installed can solve that problem, but there are some easier, less costly things that can be done to stop cold air from leaking into your home. First, think about sealing up the holes with some putty or caulk. This is the cheapest option and it should at least last a few months. However, if you’re feeling particularly inspired to do some DIY this season, consider replacing your moldings. It’s a fairly easy project that can be done with just one person and you don’t need a contractor to do it for you. A solid molding replacement job will not only cover up many yucky cracks that are sending warm air literally out the window, but it will also serve to spice up a dull room in a cinch.
Change Your Filters
Filters that live in your heating & cooling system should be replaced every 3 to 6 months anyway, but sometimes we all forget–and that’s okay! If you haven’t checked your filter in a while, now is a good time to do it. You’d be amazed the amount of dirt and debris that can get caught in a small filter. Once a filter does its job and fills up with things that shouldn’t make its way into your air supply, it needs to be changed. When your filter is full and your heater is still running, it has to work harder to pump clean air through your vents. Not to mention, if too much dirt and debris builds up around your filter, there will come a time when the filter can no longer do its job. So, all of those things you don’t want in your heating & cooling system will have nowhere to go. This can and will eventually clog up your system and cause some hefty repair costs. Filters are quite cheap and replacing them is easy – replacing a heating & cooling unit is not.
Take Advantage of Your Curtains
Even in the winter time, sunshine can help you stay warm. Many people believe that keeping your curtains open during the day will allow more cold air to creep into your home. Yet, this isn’t always the case. If you’re experiencing leaks around your windows, that is a separate issue and can be solved by new moldings, extra sealant, or new windows altogether (as listed above). Keeping your curtains open when the sun is shining invites the heat from the sun to enter your home. The same is true for the summer. Closing your blinds at the warmest part of the day stops those rays from warming up your house and causing your air conditioning unit to work even harder. If you work during the day, simply open your curtains and allow the sun to shine in. When you get home close them to reduce the possibility of any cold drafts getting into your living spaces. Be cognizant of which sides of your home are most exposed to the sun. This way you can maximize your solar heating benefit. Using this tip in conjunction with your ceiling fans can distribute heat from the rooms that have the most sun to the ones that don’t.
While one of these tips might not necessarily save you a fortune, using all of them can help put a few bucks back in your pocket this season, and are among the many ways you can be more green around your home. In addition, you can rest assured that you’re living a little bit greener this year. Happy Holidays!
[About the author: Trisha is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan and promotes an all around healthy lifestyle. You can check out her block thatdangvegan.com and find her on Twitter @thatdangvegan. Image: brando.n