It is almost winter and many families are gearing up for colder weather. Heating a home can mean higher gas and electric bills, which can chip away at any money saving efforts made during the warmer months. Taking time to make sure your home is ready for the winter will help lower your heating costs and keep you on a frugal track.
Here are some easy ways you can get your home prepared.
- Check your windows and doors. Cold air leaking in from the outside, or your warm air inside leaking out, will cost you money. Use caulk to seal any draft windows or buy weatherstripping kits for your windows. While some people suggest using plastic sheeting to cover windows the plastic can reduce the amount of sunlight let in by your windows and letting the sunshine in a free way to heat your home. If you have drafty doors use a rolled-up towel along the bottom to block out air. You can also buy weatherstripping kits for doors to help keep them airtight.
- Check your thermostat. Make sure that it is accurate and working properly. If you have a thermostat in an area cooler than the rest of the house your heat may kick on more often than you really need it to. Do a quick check with a small thermostat to see how the temperatures are varying within your home. Using an electric programmable thermostat will also help. You can program it to turn on and off at certain times so that you can come home to a warm house without running the heat all day.
- Make sure your attic is properly insulated. Heat rises, so if your attic is not insulated well the heat will rise right out of your house. Spending money now on having your attic properly insulated will save in heating costs later on.
- Check your finance. Have your furnace inspected and serviced now to make sure it will run well during the colder months. Just like keeping your car properly maintained saves money on repairs keeping your furnace serviced will save you. If you have an older model you should also see about a newer, more energy-efficient model. The amount you save may have the furnace pay for itself in a few winters.
- If you have an outside Air Conditioner unit cover it. Covering your unit will help reduce any air leaks during colder months and will help prevent and damage from water freezing inside the motor. Be sure to drain out any water first and to turn off any water flow to your AC first.
Once you have your home prepared you can prepare yourself. Many people keep their heat turned on much higher than it needs to be. By changing your own behavior you can be warm and comfortable inside a cooler home.
Keep your thermostat turned down to 65*F and follow these simple tips to keep your heating costs low.
- Stay warm at night. You can easily lower your hat at night and still be toasty in bed. Wear warm pajamas to sleep in and use warm, heavy blankets.
- Keep your feet warm. Many people complain of cold feet. Keep your socks and shoes on even when indoors to keep your feet warm without needing to heat the house.
- Dress appropriately. Wear warm, heavy, and covering clothes. If you feel chilly put on a sweater or bundle up under a quilt.
- Stay in warm rooms. If your kitchen is warmest while cooking tries to stay in that room as much as possible to stay warm without heating the entire house.
I hope these tips will help you be prepared for a cold winter without sending your heating costs through the roof. By making simple changes you can stay warm and stay frugal all winter long.