As temperatures are getting lower and lower, for some of us at least, we might feel the urge to turn on the heat sky-high. But at the same time, we are getting depressed when watching our hard earned money disappearing from our pockets, because along with the heat we are also burning dollars.
There are other ways to keep you and your family warm as the temperatures drop without breaking the bank. Here are some winter time energy saving tips for you folks, because each and every one of you can cut costs on your energy bill in just a few easy steps.
The first step might seem obvious: take advantage of the heat generated from the sun by letting it naturally warm your house when possible. You should open the curtains during the day on your south-facing windows when the sun is shining and close them during the night; this will actually help you conserve the heat, especially if you have thick fabric curtains.
Sealing the leaks
You should take care of drafty windows (and doors by the way), by insulating them during the cold winter months. You can use various materials, from silicone foam to clear plastic sheet on the inside of the window frame, sealing it tightly and stopping the loss of heat.
Seal all the leaks in and around the house, i.e. the holes around the piping (cut-throughs for the pipes), the holes around your chimney (if you have one), and other cuts or crevices that may be letting heat out and drafts in.
Another trick to keep your house warm during the winter months is to rearrange your rooms by moving the furniture in such way that you will be sitting near the interior walls, away from drafty windows or colder exterior walls. It’s a smart strategy and it works, believe me. Avoid sitting in drafts at all costs.
You can reduce heat loss by keeping the fireplace damper closed when you’re not using it. If you fail to do that, it’s the equivalent of an opened window during the winter – all the heat will escape through the chimney. If you never use the fireplace, you should seal the chimney flue once and for all.
On the other hand, if you’re using it frequently, consider investing in tempered glass doors and a heat air exchange system; in this way, you will maximize the fireplace’s efficiency by blowing the warm air back into the room.
You must adjust the temperature settings differently during the day. For example, when you’re at home and active, you should set the thermostat as low as possible without sacrificing comfort (you can dress a little bit anyway). The ideal temperature setting for optimizing costs is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you’re sleeping or you’re at work, you can turn the thermostat lower by 10 to 15 degrees. This will save you about 10% annually on your heating bill. This method works like a charm if you own a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider investing in one; it’s worth it in the long run.
Good Heating and Water Systems
Keep your heating system in perfect working order, service it regularly, replace the furnace filters as required, and clean the flue vent if you’re using wood/pellet burning heaters.
In these ways, you will keep your heating system operating at maximum efficiency, saving you money each month.
You can reduce your heating bill significantly by turning down the temperature of your water heater during the winter months. The optimum setting for the water heater is the “Normal” setting, i.e. 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
By insulating your water heater with a special blanket/jacket to keep it warm, especially if you’re using an older model, you can save up an additional 10% on your hot water bill. You can also consider replacing your oldwater heater with a modern one, Energy Star certified, which is way more efficient than older modelsby up to 50%.
Actually, you should consider buying Energy Star certified appliances/electronics whenever possible in order to make your home comfortable yet energy efficient.
Control Your Consumption
You must train yourself and your family to avoid wasting energy.
For example, you should turn off the lights if you’re not in the room, unplug all the electrical appliances that you’re not using regularly, take shorter showers (if you’re reducing your shower time by just a few minutes each day, you will save hundreds of gallons of hot water.
Keep in mind that showers make for about two thirds of your water heating costs each month). If you manage to cut your shower time in half, you will reduce your water heating bill by a third. Also, you can use low flow shower heads and faucets, to save up to 15% more on your water heating bills.
Use your electrical appliances more efficiently. For example, do only full loads when washing your clothes or doing dishes. Use cold water when possible, instead of hot water, i.e. when washing colored clothes.
Use the power management software installed on your computers to put them (and the monitors) to sleep automatically when not used for prolonged periods of time. Turn them off and unplug them at night.
You can replace your regular light bulbs with LED or fluorescent light bulbs that use four times less energy than the conventional ones.
Last but not least, you should consider increasing your ceiling insulation to up to R-38, thus further reducing costs on your heating bill by up to 25%.
We hope this helps folks. We almost forgot: consider investing in warm clothes. They come handy in any survival situation, especially if the power grid is toast and you’re out of wood, propane, or whatever you’re using to heat your residence.Clothes will never go out of style and they’ll still work even after an EMP attack.
This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.