Last week we had many days of sweater weather (yeah, already) and even had to turn on the heat twice. It seems early for the heater and extra blankets, but it was cold! This week we’ve had a little more sunshine, but the chill last week was enough to get me thinking about fall and winter energy, and how to conserve it. If it’s getting cold in your neck of the woods, some of the following small steps can help you to conserve energy and save money on heating costs during the fall and winter…
- Dress for the weather. My son is a shorts in winter type and I have to admit that I’ve been known to wear tank tops with light cardigans in the winter. Maybe some folks’ blood simply runs hot – who know. Still, if you are cold, check your outfit, it may not be warm enough for the weather.
- Close off any unused space in your house such as a guest room or unused family room – by close off, I simply mean shut the door.
- Turn off heaters in unused rooms and close the vents.
- Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- If you live in a dry area, like we used to (New Mexico) get a small humidifier. Air that’s nice and moist vs. dry feels warmer.
- Keep shades open during the day, especially if the sun pops out for a visit. Pull down shades at night.
- Try some inexpensive weatherization techniques.
- If you have a fireplace keep the dampers closed when you’re not using it.
- If you have a separate air conditioning system make sure that the AC system is covered during the cold months to avoid energy loss.
- Co-sleeping keeps you warm at night. This is unconventional for some American families and not usual for families with older kids, but if you have young children, co-sleeping keeps you warmer and allows you to cuddle.
- Use an organic wool comforter on your bed. These cost more than typical blankets, but last forever and really hold in the heat at night.
- Experiment with your thermostat. Setting it back even just 10 degrees will result in more than 15%+ savings and you may not even notice you turned the heat down.
- Install a programmable thermostat. This way you won’t forget to turn off the heat when you leave – so long as you keep a pretty average schedule. Make sure you also set it to a lower temperature at night.
- Hang out as a family. If you eat dinner in your warm kitchen, cuddle on the couch or play board games at night together, it’ll keep everyone in one place – which is warmer than everyone spread out.
- After cooking dinner (or another meal) leave the oven door open to allow the leftover heat out. *NOTE – obviously do not do this if you have young children in the house.
Image ©hortongrou via sxc.