Be smart about your thermostat.
The Department of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re awake and at home, and lower when you’re asleep or away. How low you go depends on what’s right for your family and your health. During cold emergencies, the Illinois Department of Public Health has advised going no lower than 66 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, never go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, because you could freeze your pipes.
You could also upgrade your thermostat. Most electronic thermostats let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Some automatically switch from heating to cooling, and many tell you when it’s time to change your furnace or air conditioner filter. You can also install a smart thermostat and set your home’s temperature from anywhere.
Adding insulation and weather stripping can slash your annual energy costs up to 30% by keeping up the cold or heat and minimizing the stack effect. Start by ceiling large gaps around the chimney, furnace flue, plumbing pipes, ductwork, light fixtures and soffits in your attic. Then lay insulation between attic-floor joists and on the hatch or door, or add more if it’s already there. Look for insulation that’s become dirty, a sign of air movement that reveals other gaps you must fill. Also insulate ducts running through the attic.
Saving on hot water.
Installing insulation around your hot water pipes and lowering the temperature on your water heater from 130 degrees to 120 degrees can help you save 5% on your energy bills.
Clean or replace filters for a forced-air heating system.
A dirty or non-functioning filter does nothing but drain money from your wallet. Check it every month—and now is a great time to clean or replace it if it’s dirty.
Clear radiators, registers, air returns and baseboards of obstructions.
Dust, rugs and furniture can block the heat and leave a room chilly. You can’t heat your home if the air isn’t circulating.
Don’t overwork your heating system.
Keep comfortable the rooms you use most. Close off drafty rooms, stairways or hallways. Close blinds for extra protection from icy night winds, but open them during the day so sunlight can help heat your home.
Reduce the drafts.
The cold is an opportunity to pinpoint the drafts in your home. Your hardware store can provide materials to seal leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping cracks and gaps around your home are some of the most cost-effective steps you can take to conserve heat. Focus on the attic, basement, windows and doorways.
If you can’t get to the hardware store right away, improvise. For example, if you don’t have a door guard or sweep to block cold air under your front and back doors, use a rolled up towel. Using a fireplace to stay warm? Close the damper after you’re done using it so warm air doesn’t escape out the chimney.
Circulate the heat with the help of a ceiling fan.
In the winter, run the fan clockwise (from your position, looking up at it) to pull warm air down from the ceiling. Turn off the fan when you leave the room.
By following these tips, you’ll save money, and keep your mind at ease so that you’ll be able to enjoy your snow day worry free!
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.