Plano Homes : How to save a little $$ on your heating costs this winter ; part of The Surviving the Holidays Series
Ahh a brisk winter chill is in the air over Texas. Time to go home, drag out the blankets, make a cup of hot coco, and light up a nice warm fire. Living in Texas we certainly do not have the harsh winters like other parts of the country (we get ours in the summer), but we certainly get our few months of cold temperatures and high heat bills. I have found some great tips to help you save on your heating costs this winter thanks to the fine folks at financialplan.about.com . And sure, if you can afford to put in all new energy efficient windows and a new radiant barrier you are going to save ALOT more money than you will with these tips. However; for those who don’t have thousands to spend on new windows these tips should help cut your costs using what you already have and know.
TIPS TO SAVE YOU SOME $$ ON HEATING COSTS
- Bundle up! Running around with shorts and a tank top in the middle of winter just doesn’t make much sense. Winter is winter because it is cold, s act like it even if you’re just sitting around the house. Put on a sweater or sweatshirt, wear socks and fuzzy slippers. Place a soft, comfy blanket on the couch to cuddle up in while watching TV, reading or chatting with friends. Put throw rugs on hardwood and tile floors to eliminate the shock of the ice cold surfaces. It doesn’t cost anything to wear warmer clothes inside and by doing so you can keep the temperature inside the house a few degrees cooler and save big.
- Not all doors are used in the winter, nor are the windows, so plastic up the windows and doors that are going to go unused. There are window kits for sale for about $5 per window. These can help to eliminate drafts to keep in the heat! Can’t afford the kits or plastic sheeting? Hang blankets to help insulate! If you are creative enough, you can hang it to look shabby chic!
- Turn the heat down at night and when no one is hom. This doesn’t mean turn the heat to 40 degrees, but turning it down to 60 overnight or while you’re away can make a big difference. Think about it; why keep it 70 degrees when you’re either sleeping or out of the house for more than 12 hours a day? You can adjust the thermostat manually for free, but if you want to spend a few bucks a programmable thermostat is a great investment.
- After baking cookies or making dinner in the oven, leave the door open a crack. There’s a lot of heat in that oven, so letting it escape puts the heat to good use by warming up the kitchen and surrounding rooms meaning the furnace has to run a little bit less.
- Use a space heater only in the current room you are hanging out in. This will take the nip out of the air to make you feel more comfortable without heating all of the other rooms in the house and wasting energy.
- Use silicone to fill any cracks in doors, windows, etc, including the basement floor and walls. You would be surprised at how much heat is lost through cracks that seem insignificant. A tube of caulk or silicone will only run you a few dollars and it’s an easy weekend project.
- Close any vents going to rooms that are not used regularly. That guest room that sits empty when you don’t have any guests? Close the door and the vents. Doing so can easily cut 100-200 square feet off of your energy footprint.
- Put weather stripping around windows and doors. Weather stripping helps quite a bit, especially in older homes. You’d be surprised how the seals around your doors and windows can deteriorate over time.
- Cover up the attic entry with plastic, pieces of insulation, old blankets, weather stripping, saran wrap, painter drop cloth, or even a few old shirts. Any of it will help to slow, if not, stop, the drafts and warm air from floating away through your roof. Heat rises and may be getting pulled right up through the attic so you may not notice a cold draft even though your expensive hot air is floating away.