Whether you think the weather outside is frightful or delightful, there’s no doubt that keeping warm during the winter can be costly. Luckily, we’ve compiled these easy-to-implement tips to help you save money while keeping your home warm this winter.
1. Moisturize… the Air
While it might be fun to watch your kids rub their socks on the carpet and “zap” one another, the dry air that makes that possible also means your furnace is working harder than it needs to. Moist air retains heat better, but the air blown out by most furnaces is dry. This means that the air in your home doesn’t stay warm for as long as it could, and it doesn’t feel as warm as it really is, either (think about how much hotter it feels in the summer when it’s humid out). An easy way to solve this issue is to invest in a good humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which causes the air to feel warmer and to retain that heat for longer. This adds up to savings since the warm temperature you’re trying to maintain won’t decline as quickly, and your furnace won’t have to work as hard to keep it up. Along with a humidifier, you can purchase a humidity gage for a few dollars at your local hardware store. This will help you monitor and optimize the moisture levels in your home.
2. Become a Fan of Your Fans
You might be scratching your head at this one, but your ceiling fans can help warm your home in the winter. Because hot air rises, the air at floor level can feel up to 10 degrees cooler than the air at ceiling height. To help bring that warm air down to where you can feel it, run your ceiling fans on their lowest setting, clockwise. The low setting won’t use much energy or move the air fast enough to create a breeze, but the clockwise motion will pull cool air up toward the ceiling and push the warm air down to floor level. This can raise your floor-level temperature by up to 5 degrees, meaning you won’t be as tempted to turn up the heat.
After baking or broiling something delicious, my mom used to leave the oven door open a crack to let the heat radiate into the house. This makes use of heat that’s already been generated (and paid for) to take some of the load off your furnace. Of course, use your discretion in the presence of children and pets.
4. Closing Strategy
Closing vents in rooms that aren’t used regularly (such as guest rooms or powder rooms), and the doors leading to those rooms will help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your home. It’s much more efficient to open vents and doors on an as-needed basis than it is to heat spaces that aren’t being used. And putting draft catchers at the base of closed doors will prevent the cooler air in those rooms from sneaking into your main living space.
For even more Winter Savings, make sure you’re getting the most out of your furnace and hot water heater.
Bonus savings! Along with saving money on your utility bills, try these other ways to trim the winter budget:
- Take advantage of free activities for the kids. Most rinks have at least one free skating event each year. Check the ones near you and plan your skating days. You could also go old school and take the kids sledding on a good local hill.
- Buy multiples of outerwear basics. When my kids were small, I’d stock up on a dozen pairs of identical mitts. If one gets lost (and that’s a very small “if”), you don’t have to worry about matching the leftover.
- Look for winter wear DIYs. There are all kinds of fun and easy ways to convert unused sweaters into scarves, hats, and even mittens that translate into major savings.