The cold months of winter are often dark and gloomy. This is the time most people spend indoors and turn up the heating systems. This is also the time greenhouse gas emissions and energy bills rise. Each year, people contemplate on the best ways to keep their houses warm and still save some money.
Thankfully, there are many ways to mitigate heating costs and most of them are easy to implement. Here are six tips to help you enjoy the cold season without worries on heating expenses;
1. Air seal the house
The most common way to have inflated heating expenses is to lose heat to the cold on a continuous basis. This can be easily reduced by carefully sealing the home. The Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy contains a useful guide to air sealing a house. It includes walk-throughs on air leak detection and how one can weather-strip and caulk any leaks detected. Air sealing can save you as much as 30% on your monthly heating expenses.
A fireplace is an excellent source of heat that can warm your rooms in minutes. Reading a good book while drinking a hot cup of cocoa or coffee by the fire is a relaxing way to spend a cold winter while warm. To enjoy the maximum benefits of your fireplace, close the damper after every use. Additionally, it is advisable to open the damper before you light up the fireplace or the room will be filled with smoke.
3. Insulate Light Switches and Outlets
This is a small project that is often forgotten because people do not realize how switches and outlets can be sources of an air leak. However, light switches and outlets should have insulation added to them more so if they are on the outside. Ensure that you buy specialized plate seals which are available locally at most hardware stores. The insulation is specifically made for switch plates and outlets so you do not have to worry about fires.
4. Window Treatments
These are beautiful features in a romantic bedroom or a cozy living room, but did you know that they can serve a greater purpose apart from adding decor and color to a space? All full drapes made from wool and cotton blends let in a natural sense of heat when open. In the evening after the sun has gone down, closed curtains help insulate a room from cold air coming in from windows. Lining window treatments provides more insulation and adds more layers to keep you warm in the evenings.
5. Focus on people
Although this sounds straightforward, it is often easier to keep yourself warm rather than warm the whole house. A snug sweater and a warm pair of boots can save you hundreds in energy and heating bills. Ensure that everyone in the family has warm clothing to avoid medical expenses.
6. Area Rugs
These are often used as decorative elements in a room. They add style and color while also unifying the space. During the winter months, they add an insulation layer on the floor. They trap the cool air underneath and prevent it from seeping up and cooling the room. Rugs also keep the feet warm.
Above all, keep the hot air flowing and moderate the internal temperature. Before long, you will realize the savings which can be used to invest in something special.