When winter rolls around, many of us experience high gas and electric bills. To make matters worse, energy usage is rarely environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, all of this seems unavoidable, especially when we want to spend every hour indoors. But it’s easier to overcome than you may think. Here are 10 ways you can reduce your energy usage this winter – all while staying out of the cold.
1. Install Proper Insulation
Sometimes, the reason why our houses aren’t warm is because they’re poorly insulated. Check out the situation in your attic, where 25% of the heat in your home is lost. Are there adequate levels of insulation? If not, start that project as soon as you can.
2. Seal Doors And Windows
Walk through your house and feel for any cold spots by your doors and windows. Like the attic, this is a place where heat can escape. Grab some weather-stripping and a few door stoppers and fit them to each area.
3. Open Curtains During The Day
A super simple fix is to allow some sunlight into every room – it’s one of the best heat sources available. A bonus is that it’s free. At night, be sure to shut your blinds, so the cold air stays away.
4. Put On A Few Extra Layers
One of the easiest ways to keep yourself warm is to put on a sweater and some thick socks. Blankets are much cheaper to keep around than your typical energy bill. Your house isn’t the one that needs to stay toasty – it’s you!
5. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Fans traditionally spin counterclockwise to help lift hot air out of a room. In the wintertime, make sure to reverse them for the opposite effect. Doing so will allow warm air to travel down to the centre of the room, where you and your family can enjoy it.
6. Keep Rooms Closed Off
Think about the areas in your house where you spend the most time. These are probably the living room and bedrooms. Make sure that the doors that lead to unused spaces, like closets, are shut tightly. This way, you won’t waste energy heating them.
7. Plug Your Fireplace
Many of us forget to check out our fireplaces. Warm air can leak out of them through the damper, so be sure to close up the flue when the weather starts to get colder. Of course, you can also use your fireplace as an alternate way to heat your home.
8. Purchase A Smart Thermometer
This is the best way to regulate heat when no one’s home. You can set these to turn on and off at different times throughout the day, so you never waste any energy on an empty house. Keep the temperature to around 68 degrees when you’re awake and in the house and then lower it otherwise.
9. Cook At Home
Skip the take out and restaurant reservations this winter. Instead, choose to make more meals at home. Your stove will warm your kitchen and release some moisture into the air. Just remember to keep the oven door shut as you bake – you don’t want that heat to escape too much.
10. Replace Your Furnace Filter
Head down to your basement or utility closet to switch out your furnace filter. If you haven’t done so in a while, this is a crucial step. A dirty filter will obstruct airflow, which impacts the overall efficiency of your home. Replace it with a clean one, so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
You Don’t Have To Be Cold to Save Money
With these easy tips and tricks, you can stay warm and reduce your energy usage at the same time.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.