Do the monthly gas and electric bills make you want to shake your fist at the utility companies? You may not be able to do anything about lowering the price of electricity or fuel, but you can cut back on how much of it you use. Take control and make your bill go down, rather than up! Don’t run to crank up the thermostat every time you feel a chill in your home, try these simple remedies instead.
Photo by Karin Dalziel
Photo by Jim Champion
Photo by Bradley Gordon
Wallet-thickening strategies to ponder – an even dozen of them in fact – and they’re so easy to implement that you are sure to warm up to these ideas in no time:
- Always remember to wear socks. It’s easy to forget this one, but after your head, your feet lose the most warmth. Switch to wool socks in the winter. They figured out how to make wool much less itchy than it used to be, so your toes will be toasty, but not scratchy.
- Close off unused rooms. Do you have a craft room or a spare bedroom that is seldom occupied? Draw the curtains (unless it gets a lot of sun during the daytime), close the heating and cooling registers, and position one of those nifty cloth draft blockers to plug up the crack at the bottom of the door.
- Manage sun and shade exposure. Take advantage of solar heat by keeping windows unobstructed when the sun is streaming through. Later, when those areas are shaded, close weighty drapes to keep the heat from escaping too easily. If you have some overgrown bushes that are shading the sun-exposed sides of your house, consider trimming them back.
- Drink warm beverages. Many people drink cold sodas all year long. Switching to tea, chai, coffee or hot chocolate can do two wonderful things: heat you from the inside out, and give you a warm place to rest your chilly hands – one of the parts of our bodies that the cold seems to affect first.
- Migrate to smaller rooms. A good friend has a television and comfortable seating in her upstairs bedroom. She makes that her wintertime “nest.” It’s less expensive and more efficient to heat the smaller space, and the upstairs naturally benefits from rising heat.
- Bake and boil. Instead of buying that package of decadent Pepperidge Farm soft chocolate chunk cookies, whip up a batch yourself. The heat from your oven will help to warm your home. While you’re at it, start simmering soups on your stove. The heat plus the added moisture amp up the warmth and comfort level of your home. Plus, winter is the best time to enjoy a good bowl of soup, and most soups taste better the longer they simmer.
- Replace filters in your HVAC system. Even if you employ the above tips, you’re going to be turning on your cooling and heating system. Make sure it’s running at peak efficiency. Change the filters and hire an HVAC technician to give it a tune up.
- Use your fans. Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction. This diffuses the warmer air that’s been collecting at your ceiling.
- Check windows and doors. First, make sure you haven’t accidentally left any windows cracked from those warm summer days, and then inspect window and door weatherstripping. Install and replace as needed. Sometimes your local utility company will do this for you, or at least cover part of the expense.
- Cuddle. Cuddle up with your spouse, kids or Great Dane. If your teenagers won’t cuddle with you any more, at least keep them in the same room so that you don’t have to heat another recess of the house.
- Goose down comforters. Purchase thick, down comforters for the beds in your home and you’ll be able to shave a few degrees off the nighttime thermostat setting.
- Warm the cold parts. Often, it’s our extremities that are bothered by the cold: hands, the aforementioned feet, ears, nose, head, etc. Find ways to apply heat to those extremities rather than heating the entire volume of air in your home. Wear a hat and embrace hat hair together. Wear a scarf. Invest in a microwavable hot water bottle or neck and shoulder wrap. When the cold threatens, it’s time to start “packin’ heat!”
A baker’s dozen extra: Warm your entire home with lots of I love you’s and smiles, no matter what comes. A family strongly bonded is a family that stays warm together no matter how cold the world gets.
There now – wasn’t that easy?
Relax and have some pie.
Photo by Joselito Tagarao
With these 12 easy-as-pie home remedies, you can stay comfortable all winter long and greet the warmer spring weather with a little extra cash in your bank account.
Josh Moran stays warm and dry working with Tom’s Mechanical, an HVAC company in Arlington, TX.