Whether you dread snowflakes and shoveling or live for cocoa and snowmen, we definitely all have one thing in common — we do our best to keep winter where it should be: outside of our homes. Here are some helpful tips for those of us striving to save efficiently even when the weather makes it more difficult.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
If it seems like Jack Frost is nipping at your nose from the comfort of your own home, you may want to look for the ways that he could be getting in. Cold air filters in through every crack and crevasse in your home, and one of the biggest culprits could be your windows. One easy way to prevent the heat from escaping through these cracks is to insulate your windows with film. Clear window film is not only affordable but effective. Think of it like throwing plastic wrap around the top of lasagna to keep it from drying out. The insulation kit will include plastic shrink wrap that applies to the window. Next, you heat it with a blow dryer to seal it, and voila – you’re all set! The best part of these wraps is that you get to continue to enjoy all of winter’s beauty through the window without any of the chills. The wraps are clear and will only minimally change the look of your windows.
You can also seal out drafts by installing weatherstripping on doors and windows. Weatherstripping comes in a wide variety of materials and styles, including tension-seal, felt and foam.
Before beginning a weatherstripping DIY project, check for air leaks by holding a piece of tissue paper or plastic wrap near the window on a windy day and moving it around. Wherever you see movement (either outward or inward), there’s a significant leak.
Invest in LED
By nature, we spend more money on electricity in the winter than we do in the summer. A number of factors contribute to this increase, such as the use of electric heaters and holiday lights. While no one is recommending you cut back on your bright holiday décor, it is smart to switch to both LED bulbs inside and outside your home. LED lights are a long-term investment that will eventually pay for themselves. According to YLighting, if you swapped out only one light bulb with an LED, you could save anywhere between $30 and $80 on your utilities over the course of the light bulb’s lifespan. Imagine how much you could save if you swapped out every light in your home? The best part about making this switch is that your holiday lights will shine brighter than ever.
Give Your Heating System a Checkup
Schedule an annual heating system check-up early each winter to ensure that your system is clean and ready to run efficiently. A check-up can find problems early and save you the inconvenience, discomfort, and expense of a breakdown during a cold snap.
Lower the Heat During the Day
This may be a cliche household argument, but it does actually make a difference. Lowering the thermostat or turning off the radiator during the day, when people may be out of the home, will help keep heating costs down in the winter. Another option is scheduling your thermostat to be at certain temperatures throughout the day. For example, if your thermostat allows, schedule the heat to drop at night when everyone has gone to bed. It’s also worth mentioning turning off the heat when you leave a room or closing doors to unused rooms in your home would be a waste to heat.
If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, consider switching to a programmable option so that you can fine tune and optimize when the heat runs. This is an investment that will help you save money in the long run.
Only Wash Full Loads of Laundry
An easy way to save on energy costs is to only run loads of laundry when the load is full. Running small, partial loads of laundry takes as much energy as running a full load.
Speaking of laundry – make your wardrobe work harder for you. Encouraging your loved ones to wear warm clothes and get cozy under a blanket can also keep the costs of heating your dwelling down. The beauty of layers is that if you get too hot you can always ditch one. Stay warm, but make it both fashionable and financially valuable.
Use Natural Heat
We have our very own heater up in the sky and it doesn’t cost a dime. Try capitalizing on the sunshine streaming through your windows in the winter. Rooms with a lot of windows are often thought to be drafty; however, if you insulate your windows and then keep your curtains open and your blinds up during the hours that the sun is highest in the sky, you will inadvertently heat and light up your home. Conversely, as the sun begins to set, you should be closing your curtains to keep the heat, which the sun provided all day, locked in.
Turn Off Lights
This one is an easy solution. If you aren’t already in the habit of doing this, turn off the lights when you leave each room. This will save you money and help the environment. Another tip is to put all of your electronics in the main room that you spend time in on one power strip. This way, instead of having to run through the house and flip light switches, you can just turn off the power strip and head out the door.
Drop Your Water Heater Temperature
Your water heater burns a lot of energy keeping that big tank of water at a high temperature. One way to put money back into your pocket is by lowering the temperature gauge on your water heater. This will lower the temperature of the hot water that is pumped throughout your home. Generally, the time that we want our water to be the hottest is during our showers. We typically like our showers to be anywhere between 120 F and 125 F. This temperature can be used as a gauge for how high you want your water to be heated. Once you have set your water heater to this temperature, you are all set and will not need to adjust it unless you determine that you would like your shower a bit warmer, in which case you can always tick the temperature upwards slowly. This will allow your water heater to burn less energy and save you money.
Don’t let your bills give you the winter blues. Survive the winter and implement these tips ahead of time to get your home prepped and ready to save. It will make counting down the weeks until your next beach day that much easier.