Winter can be so much more expensive to stay warm in than other seasons that many of us dread the oncoming cold. Energy saving ideas for electricity conservation, furnace power save, gas control, appliance tips, and more are worth checking out and implementing for money saving ideas, too. See if your local energy providers offer free of charge suggestions and/or provide such services. Most of them offer a guidebook filled with inexpensive ideas to apply according to your lifestyle.
Weatherization measures that can be installed in your home are well worth the cost, especially if you learn how to get the most savings from them. If you have programmable thermostats, set them to 68 degrees and leave them there. If you don't have them, get them, they are worth it. Evidently, a well humidified house at 68 degrees is as comfy as a dry house at 75 degrees. Aquariums, houseplants, and humidifiers help. Another thing to do is lower thermostats at night an additional 10 degrees to save up to $40.00 -$60.00 yearly. At least remember to lower them when absent from the house. I am going to try lowering them in rooms that aren't used much, I think that will help to have a lower electric bill.
Remember that appliances could be as costly as heat so here are some energy saving tips for using them.
- Both refrigerators and freezers need to be full but not overcrowded to operate efficiently. If you have an extra freezer, but it isn't kept full, try to avoid using it. Put the frozen items in the refrigerator freezer, unplug the extra freezer, and voila, you've saved money.
- This is a good tip for keeping the freezer fuller. Fill empty cartons ¾ full with water and place in the empty areas. You can also keep ice packs in the freezer all the time.
- Maintain the "health" of your refrigerator by unplugging it and vacuuming the dust off the coils twice yearly. Defrost the freezer regularly. I always need reminders about this!
- Ovens don't need preheating, honest, they don't. You can also turn the oven off 10 minutes ahead of time and leave the food in because there is plenty of heat to finish the job.
- Use drying racks for your clothes as much as possible. Dryers are expensive to use. One tip for rack dried clothes that are hard (jeans) is to fluff in the dryer for a short time to soften them up after they are dry.
- Cold water wash works very well and most detergents are geared for cold wash.
- Just run the dishwasher when it is full. Dishwashers are great - you can use them for sponges, fake flowers, soap dishes, and many other household items. Set them for air dry to save more energy.
- Begin turning off lights whenever exiting the room they are tuned on in. Install solar lighting for the outside of your home if possible for an inexpensive, safe type of security.
- Reversible ceiling fans are great to use for pushing back warm air that accumulates towards the ceiling (heat rises).
- Insulate water heaters and pipes to prevent heat loss and keep costs down.
Alternative Heat Sources
Be sure to research heating costs for alternative sources. Look for guarantees and warranties. Try to talk with other consumers who have used what you are interested in. Have a good idea of how it works before purchasing.
- Space heaters are very costly. If you have to use one, hopefully it is in a very small room (bathroom). Consider using an electric blanket or mattress pad on a bed instead of a space heater in the bedroom. It is better to heat up the bed before going to sleep, and turning it off when you get into bed.
- Electric fireplaces are becoming as popular as gas fireplaces. There are many positives to these heaters. The main one is that they use very little electricity and thoroughly heat up a room in a short time. Most of them are rollable, so they can be moved from room to room effortlessly.
- Water beds are good substitutes for space heaters. Keep the bed made up, and use an insulating blanket (an old sleeping bag works) between the waterbag and sheets. It costs less to heat than a space heater.
- Rice or corn or wheat bags or any that you have for body therapy for sore muscles that you heat up in the microwave are great heat sources in bed. As a cold feet sufferer, I absolutely love heating up my rice bag and putting at the bottom of my feet to get warm.
- Yet another alternative heat source is the herb cayenne. Sprinkle some inside your socks, put them on, and go to bed. Your feet will warm up without any cost at all (except for the herb).
- Wood pellet stoves are freestanding and vented through the chimney of the fireplace. They are energy efficient and the pellets are considerably cheaper than electrically heating rooms or using wood burning stoves.
Maintaining your heat sources is one of the best ways to saving energy in the winter (all year). Begin by keeping your radiator surfaces clean, and closing openings when not in use (like fireplace dampers). Close doors in unused rooms. Monthly furnace filter cleaning is recommended. Install weather stripping along cracks around windows and doors. Insulate ducts in crawl space for a tight house. Make sure fences that repel winter winds are in good shape. Keep shades up or curtains open on south facing windows during sunny days. This is also a free source of lighting. Block drafts, and use rugs on bare floors.
Take care of your body by exercising, wearing warm clothes (layering is good), and of course eating warm soups, drinking warm liquids, and using throw blankets to add a layer of warmth. Try a down comforter and flannel sheets, and pajamas. Wear socks and slippers. Wear thermal underwear. Snuggle up with your cat or dog or mate or child and drink ginger tea!