Even though we don’t go out as much, winter is expensive. From binge-watching television to (sometimes) over-eating to over-heating, we’re constantly adding to our utility bills. That all adds up very quickly, but you can reduce the cost of staying warm all winter long. The best part is, these 10 tips are so incredibly easy to do. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of doing even one or two of these, you’ll notice a significant difference. Some of them are even fun.
Dodge The Draft
Poorly sealed cracks between doors and floors are a big energy suck. They let the draft in, which cools the warmed air and causes your thermostat to kick in to overdrive. Prevent this needless re-heating by creating a draft dodger for your windows and doors. Martha Stewart swears by them, and she even has an easy how-to if you want to make an elegant version that looks like a log. But don’t worry if you’re not crafty. Sure, being The Log Lady would be cute and fun, but you can always just buy one and skip the hassle!
Pack your freezer. It sounds too easy, but there’s a reason for it. The more stuff you pack into your freezer, the less room the freezing air has to play. When your freezer is barely full, it gives the chilled air a chance to escape quickly, so it fills the room when you open the door and cools down the air in the process. Think of it like a game of Tetris – the more it’s like a game, the more you’ll be inclined to remember it needs to be done.
Do you have 15 seconds? Great, you can do this. By adding a layer of bubble wrap to your windows, you are preventing heat from escaping a room. It creates a barrier between the cold window’s surface and the heated air in your room. Basically, get a spray bottle of water, and squirt a thin layer on the window. While wet, press the bubble side of the bubble wrap against the wet surface (it will bind, but if you’re working with a stubborn surface, a few pieces of double-sided tape will work). Essentially, those pockets of air actually absorb the cold, and for that, you have a nicely warmed room without the huge bill. And light still comes through (when there is light, of course)!
Wear More Clothes
You have the clothes, so why not wear them? Sure, your impulse might be to take off your pants the second you get home from work, but perhaps it’s time to try something new. You can wear comfortable clothes (see, you can still take off your work pants), but bundle up. If you adjust to a cooler temperature by compensating with layers, you can find the warmth you desire without having to turn the heat high or on. It’s easy, and anyone can do it. We’re not saying you should sleep with a toque on (but hey, if you can, and it’s not uncomfortable, then why not?).
Don’t Provide An Escape Plan
Your attic and your basement are easily the two rooms that contribute to a lack of heating efficiency in any household. Heat rises, and so few attics are properly insulated, so heat goes up and out. An early investment in proper insulation will save you money over time, but you can also install a ceiling fan to redirect the hot air back down. The basement is a little different, because it’s naturally damp and drafty. Do an at-home energy audit and look for cracks and holes that might contribute to cold air getting in. The less cold air, the slower it takes to rid your home of the hot air you’re paying for.
When you’re cold, you want a hot shower or bath. It’s soothing, sometimes there are bubbles, candles and music, and it’s kind of a nice reprieve. But resist the impulse to drain excess water immediately, because it’s an oft-overlooked heat source. By letting the water sit and cool to room temperature naturally, some of that heat is actually sucked into the environment. The more natural sources of heat, the less you have to spend on man-made energy.
Fly Close To The Sun
Know the schedule of the sun. After the winter solstice, the sun rises slightly south of east, and sets slightly south of west. Knowing where the sun is at different times of days is key, because it advises you when to open and draw the curtains, shutters or blinds. The sun is a natural heat source, and by welcoming direct heat through the sun, you’re actually warming up your home without having to pay for it.
You’re cooking, so you’re using energy. And you’ve got to eat, so we’re not going to tell you to stop. But when your meal is complete and you have shut off your oven, crack the door open slightly. The residual hot air will enter the atmosphere, and you’ll get the full benefit of the heat generated to put food on your table.
If you’ve got a ceiling fan, good. During the summer, the fan is rotating counterclockwise and creates a pleasant breeze that saves you from over-indulging in air-conditioning. But in the winter, switch the direction of the blades. That one simple switch actually creates an updraft, so the hot air that has risen and just collected above you is actually sent back into your home.
Turn Your Heat Off, Turn Yourself On
A study proved that warm feet offer the kind of emotional protection that can lead to successful (read: real) orgasm in women. How will sex save your heating bill? Well, get cozy, warm and ready for bed, and make sure you include a warm pair of thick and fuzzy socks. Your body will acclimatize and leave you satisfied for bed without your heat blasting. And, well, it’ll get you in the mood to get in on, too! You’ll have warmth coming out the wazoo.