Keep Warm For Basically Nothing All Winter With These Tips & Tricks
Blog | December 16th, 2019
Has your utility bill ever given you the chills? Do you feel like you’re burning money to stay warm in your home? Fortunately, you don’t have to spend big to be comfortable during the winter months. Here’s a list of the easiest, most effective, and most economical ways to stay warm all winter long.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Heating your home when you’re not there is a waste of money. Likewise, most folks prefer a cooler temperature while sleeping compared to when they’re up and walking around the house. While you can regulate your thermostat manually, doing so means you’ll have to enter (or wake up to) a cold house at times.
A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your schedule. For example, you can set it to start warming the house about 30 minutes before you arrive home from work or before you wake up in the morning.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat down by 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 10% a year on your heating costs. They recommend setting it to 68 degrees when you’re awake at home and programming it to 58 degrees or lower at night or whenever the house is unoccupied for at least four hours.
There are two types of programmable thermostats:
Digital is the most common type. They’re the easiest to use over time, although some people find them confusing to program. Also, they’re typically the most expensive option (although you’ll almost certainly save money in the long run).
Electromechanical systems use pegs or sliding bars. They’re relatively simple to program. Plus, they’re usually cheaper than digital. However, you typically have fewer customization options, such as setting up multiple programming schedules (like weekends vs. weekdays).
Dress for the Weather
Your mom was right. If you’re cold inside the house, don’t turn up the heat. Put on a sweater instead. Investing in a few warm weather clothing items is a cost-effective way to stay warm indoors.
The fashionistas at Leaf.tv have identified the four warmest fabrics:
Generally, 100% wool is the warmest option. It’s a popular material for outerwear, sweaters, and even sheets.
Silk provides the most warmth when it's against your skin. Popular choices here include undergarments, pajamas, and sheets.
Beyond clothing, you can also cuddle up on the couch with a wool or flannel blanket or comforter.
Use Space-Age Technology
A space heater is a portable device, roughly the size of a desktop computer, which warms an area of your house. According to the gadget-experts at Popular Mechanics, there are three basic types of space heaters:
Electric-coil fan heater – It heats a relatively small area quickly by blowing air warmed by an electric coil.
Ceramic heater – A ceramic element radiates heat as infrared energy. They’re quiet but can be slow to get going.
Liquid-fuel heater – Gas or propane powered, they’re not safe for use inside the house. However, they’re great for garages and patios.
Although the specifics vary by brand, space heaters work best if you spend lots of time in a small to medium-sized room in your house, preferably one with a low ceiling, such as an office or bedroom. Because they warm one room, instead of your entire home, they’re far more energy-efficient (and cheaper) to operate compared to running your furnace.
Insulate Your Home
According to the home repair experts from the syndicated radio show The Money Pit, you can save up to 20% on your heating bills by properly sealing your home. The three major ways to do this are with:
If your home is over 25 years old, insulation is almost assuredly needed. Even many younger homes benefit from an insulation upgrade.
The U.S. Department of Energy has a detailed, easy-to-understand insulation guide. Generally, you’ll want at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. You’ll also want to insulate crawl spaces plus any areas between heated and unheated areas of the house, such as the garage.
Also, seal up any drafts around your windows and doors. While some drafts are obvious (you might even hear whistling), not every draft is easy to detect. Hold a candle or stick of incense near the window and door frames. Moving smoke helps indicate an area that needs sealing.
Caulk is usually the easiest and most effective solution. For larger areas, you can find a special, wider type of caulk that you attach for the winter but remove in warmer temps.
Furnace filters help clean the air cycling throughout your home. They’re designed to get dirty, and dirty they get. If they’re not changed regularly, they’ll block the airflow, which causes your furnace to work harder and more often than it should.
Keeping your furnace filters clean allows it to operate at maximum efficiency, helping to lower your heating bills. According to home repair legend Bob Vila, you should change your furnace filters every one to two months. Change them closer to every month if you run your fan frequently or have pets.
You don’t have to suffer to save on your heating bills. The tips above are simple to implement and effective for years. Start today, and you’ll enjoy a warmer home all winter long.