It’s that time of year again, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. The weather is turning colder. As I sit here in my office, with my space heater … and my massaging foot warmer … and my sweater … and my hot tea, you’d think I was in the Arctic. But, I’m in Atlanta, GA where it’s a horribly freezing 55(f) degrees. As you can see, my tolerance for cold weather is non-existent.
Since I already know my intolerance for being cold, this is the time of year that I get busy sealing up my little house against the elements and working toward energy conservation. I may dislike the cold, but I have an even lower tolerance for the insanity of high heating bills. Here are just a few tips on keeping yourself and your family comfortable this winter, without spending a lot of money to do it.
- Footie Pajamas. I own 3 pair. They are the best combatant against the cold. I don’t actually sleep in them, but they are my preferred loungewear around the house when the weather gets nippy. They keep me from having to huddle inside multiple layers of clothing or turning the heat up and wasting money. If you’re REALLY adventurous, get the kind with the drop seat.
Install a programmable thermostat. I know that everyone says this, but I was sort of daunted by the idea. When our thermostat broke last year, Mark bought a programmable one to replace it. It took 10 minutes to install. The instructions were simple. It took 10 minutes to program, and again, the instructions were simple. The $50 thermostat saved us over $400 last winter.
- In the summer: Program your temperature for 80 degrees for the hours you are either not home or are in bed asleep and 73 degrees for the hours your family is usually home and active.
- In the winter: Program the temperature for 60 degrees for the hours you are either not home or in bed asleep and 68 degrees for the hours your family is usually home and active.
- ***NOTE*** If you program your sleeping and away temperatures to extremes in the winter, you’ll want to give your furnace a head start, so set the temperature higher 30 minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning, or 30 minutes before you get home in the afternoon.
- Use Your Ceiling Fans. Trent @ The Simple Dollar wrote an article titled “Ceiling Fan Hacks: Save Big On Energy Use” this summer. Below is a blurb from the article.
|“Run the fan on low in the other direction (usually clockwise) on low in the winter In the winter, however, your fan should be running in the opposite direction (again, just flip the switch or push the button near the base of the fan). Blades running in this direction will pull air up in the center of the room and push it down again near the edges. This forces warm air and cool air to mix in the room, keeping the room at a steadier temperature (not allowing heat to build up at the top and coolness to settle on the floor) and making your heating unit not have to work quite as hard to keep the house warm. You’ll feel this effect if you stand near the wall in a room – a gentle, warm breeze will blow over you.”|
- Bed Warmers. If you’re too cold at night and your significant other(s) doesn’t want your cold feet on them, try a heated mattress pad. Chief Family Officer shared her results with this last winter. If Mark reads this article, I am almost positive we’ll have one on Rush Order in about 5 minutes. Heated mattress pad isn’t your thing? What about an electric blanket?
- Insulation. Lynnae @ Being Frugal shared 75 Frugal Hacks For Your Home. In it, she has a LOT of great suggestions, but my top pick is this one:
|“Insulate, insulate, insulate! Our landlord says he went overboard on theinsulation in our house, but with heating bills under $80 during the winter, I’m not complaining. You can even make sure your garage door is insulated to save more money.”|