Keeping your house warm in the winter can be a challenge. It becomes even more of one when fuel costs rise and energy becomes more and more expensive. It might seem that the only solution is to get better insulation or do major remodeling. However, there are things you can do that are cheap, effective, and easy.
One of the most obvious is to replace your thermostat.
A programmable thermostat will allow you to set your thermostat to change temperature through the day, lowering the temperature when you are away or asleep and raising it when you are at home. (These thermostats will also save money with air conditioning for a double whammy). Also consider lowering the thermostat a degree or two. You can always put on a sweater if you are cold.
Make sure all of your windows are closed and latched.
Double check storm windows and consider spending a bit of time sealing the edges with window-caulk. If you rent, removable window-caulk is available. Exterior doors can benefit from installing a door sweep. A door snake is a very good idea if you have an exterior door prone to drafting. You can make your own easily enough – all you need is to sew a thin cloth sack the length of the width of your door and about three to four inches in diameter and then fill it with dried peas or rice.
Do all of the required maintenance on your furnace and heating system.
The best time to do this is at the start of the summer, making sure any needed repairs can be easily done by fall. Make sure heating vents and radiators aren’t blocked by furniture, debris or possessions. Replace heating system air filters regularly.
Make proper use of curtains, drapes and blinds.
Curtains should be open during the day to allow maximum solar energy into the house and then closed at night to block the escape of heat. Insulating curtains are even better and only cost about $100 for each window you want to protect.
Use your clothes dryer as little as possible, making sure to only run it with a full load.
Clothes dryers tend to suck heat from the room. If your dryer is in a specialist laundry room, shut the door while it is running to reduce heat suck from the rest of the house.
When planning your garden, think about the south side of your house.
Keep it clear of trees, outbuildings and any other obstructions that block solar energy. You want as much sunlight to hit the south wall and windows as possible. If you do have shade trees on that side that you don’t want to remove, prune them back so branches do not cross over in front of the windows.
These simple tips will help you keep your house warm all winter and save energy and money with little extra cost to you.