Keep Your House Warm without Breaking the Bank
Winter is here, which means the chill in the air cuts straight to our bones. The winds howl, the snowflakes fall, and cheeks turn red from the bitter cold. So there's nothing we look forward to more than coming in from a day spent in the cold to a warm house. But wouldn't you enjoy that warmth even more if you knew that it wasn't costing you a small fortune? We have a few tips and tricks to keep your house warm without breaking the bank!
- Search the house for air leaks. This means windows, doors, attics — anywhere that cold air might be able to sneak in and warm air might leak out. Air leaks might even occur from cuts made in drywall for things like light fixtures and ceiling fans. If you locate a leak, seal it with caulk or replace the weather stripping. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts in your home can waste between 5–30% of your energy use.
- While you're searching for leaks, check your insulation. Every type is assigned an "R-value," which measures the heat allowed to pass through it. The higher the value, the less likely that heat will escape. Check with your local hardware store for more information on whether your insulation is sufficient or if you should consider replacing it.
- Don't crank the thermostat. Try keeping your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting, opting for sweaters and blankets if you feel chilly. Setting your thermostat to 68°F while you' re awake and turning it lower while you're asleep or away from home could lead to meaningful savings on your heating bill.
- If you're craving warmth with your thermostat set low, consider a fireplace. While gas fireplaces can put a strain on energy use, wood-burning fireplaces don't leave a mark on your energy bill. Just make sure to follow the proper safety precautions, from chimney regulation to starting the fire.
- Invest in a few area rugs. Not only will they add color and style to your rooms, but they' ll also add another layer of insulation to your flooring. It'll feel warm on your toes and make the temperature warmer, too.
- Open shades or drapes on south-facing windows on sunny days. This will allow the sun to naturally heat your home. Close them at night to retain the heat.
With these simple tricks, you can make your house warmer and keep your energy bill lower. When in doubt, make yourself a warm cup of tea, grab a blanket, and curl up on your couch!