The chill is in the air, and soon it will be heating season in Northern Minnesota. I always have a bit of anxiety this time of year because I’m always afraid that we’ll have a bitterly cold winter and spend a lot of money to heat our home.
So I’ve been thinking of things we could do to save on energy costs:
Make sure the furnace/hot water boiler is in great condition. Change any filters and make sure the chimney is clean. This is a good time to check those smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
Seal up those leaks. A couple of tubes of caulk and some weatherstripping will set you back less than $20 and it can save you even more than that on your heating bill. Our current house is pretty tight (it’s only three years old), but at our old house, we had to have insulated curtains, weatherstripping, and draft dodgers along all exterior doors. A cheap way to make your own draft dodger is to take a couple of old socks, fill them with leftover dryer lint, and tie them together so the span the width of your door. Freakishly frugal, I know, but it works in a pinch.
Wrap your windows. If you’re in an old house with old windows, you can get plastic wrap to cover them. It’s not an attractive look, but it does save energy. Use insulated curtains to block the cold out at night.
Figure out which appliances are energy suckers and plan for their replacement.
If your house has different zones, keep the lower level a little warmer than upstairs. Heat rises, so take advantage of it!
Install a programmable thermostat. Frugal Dad has a great how-to on this money saving project.
Turn down the thermostat. Just a few degrees can mean a 10 percent decrease in your heating bill.
Wear sweaters and slippers. I’m amazed when people complain about how expensive their heat bill is when they all run around in short sleeves and barefeet in their houses. Turn down the heat and put on some comfy slippers and a sweater.
Do some baking. Your house will be warmed by the cooking, and it will smell delicious, too! (Just a word of caution – you should NEVER use your oven as a heat source, it could have dangerous consequences).
Invite some friends over. The more the merrier! When you have more bodies in your home, it warms things up. And if you’re having fun, you’ll forget you’re cold!
Replace those incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. You’ll save money on your electric bill.
Check out the FREE Home Depot Workshop for more ideas.
What are some ways you plan to save on heating costs this winter?