Keeping Heating Costs Down This Winter
Baby, it’s cold outside, so as we head into winter, it’s important to keep the inside of the house warm and toasty. Nothing feels better on a cold winter day than to walk into the house and be greeted by a wave of comfortably warm air. One downfall to this comforting feeling, however, is the increase in your utility bills. Whether you heat with gas, propane, oil or electricity, you may notice a spike in your bills this time of year. Here are some ways to keep your heating costs down this winter so that you can stay warm without going broke:
- Play with the thermostat Some of us keep the temperature set at what our own mothers kept it set at, mostly out of habit. It’s very possible that you’ll be just as comfortable if you lower the thermostat a degree or two, and you’ll see some savings on your bills in return. It’s estimated that for every degree (Fahrenheit) that you lower your thermostat, you can save about 2% on your utility bill, so this is an option worth trying!
- Experiment with timing If you really don’t want to lower the thermostat during the day, you might be able to get away with lowering it at night, when you’re warmly snuggled under the covers anyway. If you have a programmable thermostat, set the temperature to rise again an hour or so before you wake up. Also, if everyone is out of the house at work or school during the day, set it lower while you’re gone.
- Bundle up You probably won’t want to wear a coat and gloves in the house, but putting on a sweater, bathrobe or heavy socks will keep you warm while allowing you to keep the house at a cooler temperature. This can feel strange at first if you are used to dressing in lighter clothes while at home, but it will pay off in the form of lower utility bills. You can also wrap up in a warm blanket while watching television or reading.
- Build a fire If you have a woodburning stove, then you are most likely using it to heat your home. Even an ornamental fireplace that emits little heat, however, can make you feel warmer. There is something about a flickering flame that makes us think that it’s warmer than it actually is. If you don’t have a fireplace, you might be able to achieve the same effect by burning candles
- Cook something yummy Baking a cake or roasting a turkey will warm up your kitchen, and since the kitchen is the heart of your home, you and your family can congregate in this room to enjoy the meal, as well as some post-dinner conversation. It is important to turn off the oven when you’re not using it, however: Leaving it on when you’re not baking can raise your risk of a housefire, and if it’s a gas oven, of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Warm yourself from within Enjoying a steaming cup of tea or coffee will warm not only your hands, but also your insides. This will make you feel warmer, even if it’s cool in the house. You can also serve hot soup or other warm, comforting foods for the same effect.
Staying warm in the winter doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg! Follow some of these tips and see if you can keep your utility bills down to reasonable levels as you heat your home during the coldest months of the year.