winter neighborhood

Let the Warmth in: Staying Warm in Winter Months While on a Budget

The beginning of the winter months signals the coming of snow showers, warm nights by the fire, and skyrocketing energy bills. If you are beginning to have shivers every time you see the electricity bill, there is a bigger chance that your house is getting too cold. In most cases, you are paying too much for the heating system. In this case, this calls for a few changes in your electricity usage and home fixtures.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 51% of U.S. households spend over 51% in annual energy consumption, allotted mainly for air conditioning and space heating. In truth, turning up the heating system is not the only way to keep a house warm during chilly weather. Doing so will only burn too much energy, which can incur greater spending for the family and more carbon footprint.

But aside from high energy bills, not all homes are financially capable of keeping their houses warm. As the scale of energy problems became significant, the right solutions should never be costly and complex. There are ways to keep a home warm that will only require a little budget or no extra costs. So here are three basic ways to stay warm and save bills in winter.

Energy-saving measures

If you love heating up water for the tub or laundry, installing an unvented cylinder is a cost-efficient way to reduce utility bills. It is also a great source to have hot water all year round. In the winter months, no need to worry about freezing pipes since it comes with extra insulation, which means fewer chances of freezing during cold months and costly repairs. Unvented cylinders are also eco-friendly since they function alongside renewable systems to reduce carbon footprint.

But if you cannot afford an unvented cylinder at the moment, you can install a programmable thermostat that allows you to set room temperatures at different hours of the day. This is a great alternative for homes that always keep the same temperature level 24/7. Doing this will cause high electricity bills than you ever imagine.

Having a programmable thermostat is a smart way to enjoy the heat and air conditioning while saving between 10 to 20% of the bill. Most thermostat systems can store around four to six temperature settings per day, which you can also manually override its switch.

Ceiling fans also help in keeping the rooms warm during winter, especially those with high-sloped or cathedral ceilings. You can do this by reversing the fan’s blade rotation to a clockwise position and running it at the lowest speed.

old radiator

House installations

Air drafts and leaks let warm air escape the house, leading to high heating bills. Avoid this by checking parts of the house for air leaks and applying seals to any leak you find. For drafty doors, seal those gaps using a “door snake,” a lengthy cloth sack that looks similar to a bean bag.

You can find door draft stoppers online, or you can make one using rice or dried peas and scrap fabrics. You can also apply draft stoppers on interior doors, including the ones near the stairways and hallways. But if a door snake is not enough, buy a door sweep made of nylon and install it at the door’s bottom edge.

But if you have a well-insulated home, closing the vents in unoccupied rooms helps seal the warmth inside the house. In case you didn’t know, dead or trapped air is an effective natural insulator that reduces heat loss. As you turn off the air vent and seal unused rooms, you are keeping other rooms warm without spending too much on heating.

Having quick-seal windows helps in trapping warm air inside the house. Lock the dead air inside by installing plastic film inside the windows, unused rooms, and patio doors. They come in kits containing double-sided tape and plastic film. Use a blow-dryer for seamless installation.

Furniture

The position of furniture also contributes to the air that circulates the house. Although this may sound obvious, many people forget to move the bed, chair, or coach from radiators, registers, and vents after the summer. Keeping the furniture near heating systems can block the heat flow inside the room, resulting in colder rooms and high electricity bills. Once the return or supply vent gets blocked, this could lead to pressure imbalance inside the house, which can disrupt the heat flow within the forced-air system of the heating unit.

You can also work on the drapes and curtains by keeping them open throughout the day to let the heat of the sun come in. But before the sunset, make sure to close the curtains. Consider having those curtains insulated to save several gallons of oil for your heating system for added comfort.

Although you cannot stop winter from blowing cold air into your home, you can follow the steps above to keep the energy bills under control and warm the house naturally. There is no need for big projects or expensive heating systems to get the warmth you need. Energy-saving techniques will not only save on money and energy, but they can also provide greater returns for the environment.

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