Sunday, November 4 marks the end of Daylight Savings. Time to “fall back” and gain an hour of sleep. That all sounds nice, but losing an hour of daylight requires us to use more energy. With winter cold approaching and Daylight Savings ending, here are some energy tips from Jim Wang to help brave the cold.
It seems as if only a few weeks ago our biggest concern was keeping our homes cool in the summer heat.
But now the winter cold will be rolling into your neighborhood in the next few days and weeks – are you ready for a 180-degree shift in your home environment?
If not, here are a few energy-saving tips to help you stay warm this winter.
Bundle Up Inside
Are you one of those people who wears shorts and tee shirts and goes barefoot in the house all winter – then sets the thermostat to 80 degrees in an attempt to preserve that it’s-summertime-all-the-time feeling?
OK, maybe you’re not that extreme but you can save a lot of money by turning down your thermostat.
It may be better to keep the thermostat as low as possible and bundle up. That means long pants, sweatshirts, sweaters, and good old reliable flannels. And though it seems incidental, wearing warm socks goes a long way toward keeping the rest of your body warm. You lose a lot of heat from your extremities, so keep them covered.
Drink Warm Beverages
Many people have their morning cup of coffee, but during the winter months, hot beverages are good all day long. Hot coffee, hot tea, and hot chocolate will all help to keep your insides warm, and that will improve your ability to lower your thermostat and save on energy.
And cooking hot meals at home will also help to keep you warm – and save you money – in a number of ways:
- Like hot beverages, hot meals keep you warm
- Cooking means turning on your stove and oven, and though that uses energy, it also helps to warm the rest of the house and works especially well if you also eat in the kitchen
- You’re more likely to feel warm on a full stomach, than on an empty one
- As an added side benefit, by cooking at home you’ll save money on eating out
Use a Space Heater By Day and Electric Blanket By Night
One of the biggest winter energy wasters is warming the entire house when you won’t be in every room.
At any given point in a day, it’s likely that you and your family spend most of your time in just one or two rooms. You can keep the temperature in your house at a very minimal setting by using space heaters in the rooms where you’re spending most of your time. And at night, you can ditch the space heaters in favor of electric blankets.
Even though space heaters and electric blankets use energy, it’s far less than what it takes to heat an entire house to 72 or 74 degrees. It’s a matter of concentrating heat only where it’s most needed.
Make Sure Your Fireplace Damper is Closed
This might take the prize as the most overlooked way to save money on winter heating. We all love fires in our fireplace, it’s a cheap source of heat and beautiful to look at but an open damper invites the cold air into your home. Your open damper will be undoing much of what your furnace is working so hard to accomplish.
Since winter is the season when you will make the greatest use of your fireplace, you’ll need to become a certified maniac about making sure that the damper is closed at the end of the evening (and open again before you start a fire!).
Plan to make sure that your fires are completely extinguished by the time you go to bed (this is also an excellent safety measure), and if you need to, put a sign on your fireplace reminding you to close the damper just before going to bed.
Make Sure Your Doors and Windows Are Property Insulated
If your doors and windows are not properly insulated, which is especially common if you have older windows, it’s as wasteful as leaving a door wide open. Heat escapes through open crevices around your windows and doors and it’s important to check those seals to make sure they’re closed.
Pay close attention to the space underneath your doors – a half inch opening will result in constant drafts. Use weather stripping to close any gaps. And, if you need to, invest in some plastic sheeting to cover windows, particularly those located on walls that are susceptible to high winter winds.
With just a few simple steps, you can save a lot on home energy heating bills.