Posted: January 25, 2018 at 12:00 AM by Anna Jotham
Many people in the upper Midwest are proud of their abilities to thrive through frigid and snowy winters. Others seem surprised each year when the temperature dips and the snow flies—no matter that it happens every single year. Whether you are a seasoned winter survivor or new to the cold weather scene, you can develop solid strategies for saving your bank account from a cold weather assault as the temperatures dip.
Use the sun.
In Chinese mythology, ten suns used to hang out in the sky until some wise guy shot nine of them down. But our one sun still does a pretty good job warming during winter, especially when aided by your south-facing windows. Channel the warmth by keeping shades and curtains open during the day to let the sun shine in and warm your home naturally. It’s free!
Heat only when you need it.
When you’re cuddled up in your flannel sheets at night or away at work during the day, there’s no need for your house to maintain a constant 70-degree temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that you can save ten percent on your energy bill each year by turning down your thermostat ten degrees for eight hours each day. Invest in a programmable thermostat or use some smart home technology to make home temperature maintenance a breeze.
Heat only where you need it.
If you have a guest room or a part of the house seldom used, don’t heat it unnecessarily. Close the vents in areas of the house where you’re not hanging out.
Maintain your furnace.
Your furnace is one of your most important home appliances, yet it tends to be most neglected as it sits lonely in the basement, laboring away. Many HVAC companies offer maintenance packages that involve twice-yearly visits from technicians to check and replace parts and trouble-shoot. Proactive maintenance is a heck of a lot cheaper than an emergency “It’s zero degrees and my heater just broke!” phone call. When your technician visits, ask about how to replace furnace filters yourself—they should be replaced as often as once a month, depending on the type of heat you’re using and the brand of heater.
Find and block the drafts.
Windows and doors are frequent culprits of home heat loss. Check the weather stripping and replace it in a single, inexpensive afternoon. If you have a wood stove or fireplace, close the damper when you’re not using it. Keeping it open is like having a window open all winter. Similarly, running an exhaust fan during the winter is like handing a straw to Jack Frost himself and allowing him to suck your home heat right out through the wall. Take it easy on the bathroom fan if you can.
Not only can you save a few dollars this winter; you may reduce your carbon footprint. Regardless of your reasons, a few easy adjustments in your home can cut one of your biggest costs of the winter.