By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
It’s enough to send a chill down your spine: when you realize how much it costs to keep your home warm and toasty during the cold months of winter. The harsh reality is that in colder climates when the temperatures drop, energy usage soars. Whether your home requires natural gas, electricity, or propane, your utility bills will spike. Want to lower your costs? Grab a sweater and read on for ways to save:
1 Get rid of drafts
Cold drafts can make a home uncomfortable as anyone who’s walked around the house wrapped in a blanket can attest. Fortunately, drafts are easy to eliminate. PSEG, an energy company in Newark, New Jersey, suggests using a sealant like caulk to fill in any cracks and holes around window and door frames, which are letting cold air inside and warm air escape. If the draft is coming from the bottom of a window or door, place a draft stopper—a snakelike tube made of fabric and stuffed with batting, rice, or other materials—at the interior base to create a barrier. Also consider weather stripping, a material placed around windows that also keeps cold air out.
2 Install a programmable thermostat
Instead of having a constant temperature in your house, you’ll save money on your energy bills if you set the thermostat to be a few degrees lower when everyone’s out of the house (school, work, vacation) and while you’re sleeping, according to ComEd, an energy company in Chicago.
3 Don’t dress like it’s July
If your family members complain that the house is cold, take a look at what they’re wearing. If they’re in shorts and a tank top, suggest they put on a sweater and other warm clothing instead of raising the thermostat!
4 Clean your furnace filters
To make your furnace run more efficiently if you have a forced-air heating system, replace or clean your furnace filters once a month, suggests ComEd. This is an easy and affordable way to extend the lifetime of your furnace while keeping energy costs low.
5 Keep the doors closed
If you want your home to retain a cozy temperature, keep interior doors closed at all times, even when you’re home. When you let the doors remain open, warm air will escape. Keeping the blinds closed in every room will also help retain heat.
6 Hang insulated draperies
Thermal curtains trap cold air from the outside, preventing it from entering a room. But they also work on the interior side by not letting the warm air escape.
7Prepare meals with glass cookware
If you like to cook more at home during the winter you’ll save if you use glass cookware rather than metal. The reason is that glass retains heat better than metal. When applied to cooking, says PSE&G, it means that you can reduce cooking time by about 25 percent since food will be done faster.