We all know it: winter is coming. In northwest Ohio, we know we’re in for snow, ice and freezing temperatures in the coming months.
For most, that means rising utility bills as we try to keep our homes warm against the cold. However, there are some easy ways to conserve heat in your home that will lead to energy savings.
If you’re like most people, you’ll want to find ways to cut costs but also stay warm this winter. Here’s how you can have the best of both worlds.
Trap and Keep Heat
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t take advantage of the natural heat from the sun in the winter. It may not feel like it with the cold air biting at your nose as you scrape ice from your car in the morning, but it is possible to harness heat from the sun to help warm up your house or apartment.
“Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home,” Niccole Schreck, a U.S. News and World Report contributor, says. “Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.”
She also advises that you keep in the heat with proper insulation. She suggests some inexpensive options such as foam weather strips for your doors and windows to keep heat from leaking out or cold from sneaking in.
If you’re a homeowner, it may be a good investment to add insulation to your home—good insulation can help reduce your utility bill during the winter.
Seal Your Windows
Remember your old college apartment with the paper-thin window panes and a whistling gap in the frame?
The same trick you used then is still a smart, money-saving idea: seal your windows with plastic.
This isn’t necessary for quality windows, so if yours aren’t letting in air, you won’t need to worry. However, if they are leaking air, sealing them with plastic over the window can cut heat loss by 25 to 40 percent.
How do you tell if your windows are letting in air? Here’s an easy test:
“Check for leaks by placing a piece of paper in the window frame and then closing the window. If you can pull the piece of paper out without tearing it, you’ve got an air leak,” writes Stephanie Taylor Christensen for Intuit Mint.
You may not like the look of a plastic-wrapped window, so one solution is to only do it in rooms that aren’t used as much. Any little bit helps!
Related: 7 Ways Your Home Can Save You Money
Bundle Up and Turn Down the Thermostat
Yes, this one you probably could have thought of on your own. Turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater and some thick socks can help you save money on your utility bill this winter—you knew that.
But do you know how far to turn it down—and how long to keep it there?
The good news is, you don’t have to freeze yourself this winter to save money. Energy.gov says that simply by turning your thermostat down by 7-10°F for 8 hours a day, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating costs.
For a baseline temperature setting, they recommend setting it at 68°F during the day, then lowering it those 7-10 degrees while you’re sleeping or at work.
Use Old School Techniques
You might also want to try the things your grandparents used to swear by. Close off rooms that you don’t use as much, using a thick curtain if it has an archway entry instead of a door. Place a bowl of water by a heater vent to humidify the air, which will make the room feel warmer. Leave your oven door open after you’ve finished cooking a meal, letting the hot air into the room (just be sure it’s off first!).
Weather Proof Before the Cold Weather Sets In
Finally, one of the best things you can do to save money this winter is to start preparing in the fall. Here are some weatherproofing tasks to complete before the winter sets in:
- Clean rain gutters to avoid leaks or clogs this winter
- Change ceiling fan direction to clockwise to push warm air down
- Change your furnace’s air filter
- Seal around windows and doors
Related: Winter Proof Your Home On A Budget
More Money-Saving Tips
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