Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ways to Save Money When It Gets Cold

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When does is start getting colder where you are?  It did for us, then got warm again, and is now cooling again so it's cooled down here but it's not turn the heat on level cold, at least not my version of turn the heat on cold.  My version differs from John's, to be sure.  I believe in putting on lots of layers before changing the temperature inside the house!  I do everything in my power to convince him to last until November 1.  If it were just me, I'd probably push that to December 1, but he's not having it.  It gets pretty cold on Halloween here.  The week before is usually still decent but for some reason, Halloween weekend and the actual day of are always particularly chilly.

I don't like turning the heat on because it costs way too much money.  The gas bills here in Chicago can get totally outrageous.  I mentioned some of the ways we save money in my post about how we transition our home to fall, but here are a few more ways we try to save money when it starts to get cold:

Close the blinds if the sun isn't shining directly on them.  If the sun is coming straight through, it will have a warming effect on your house.  But at night and on the windows that aren't getting the sun, it's important to close the blinds.  It provides an extra layer of insulation to keep that cold out.

Cook meals at home, making use of the oven.  The heat from the kitchen travels!  Cooking your food at home not only warms you by getting you moving, you're also making something warm to consume as well as using heat that will heat up your home.  Make things in the oven and then leave the oven door open after you turn it off so all the heat comes out and makes the house warm and cozy.

Humidify the air.  You know how it feels extra hot in the summer when the humidity is high, because the air is so wet and heavy?  The same works in the winter.  Get a humidifier, leave wet clothes out to dry, simmer water (or soups!) on the stove, whatever means you like.  Just add some water into your air.  It's also important to not use exhaust fans, which suck the warm air out of your house.  Try leaving the door open when you shower instead.

Use energy efficient LED lights.  Christmas lighting is a huge money suck too, so make sure you're using the energy efficient LED kind.  You'll save tons on your electric bill.  They cost more up front but they last forever and pay for themselves in terms of savings.

Seal your home.  There's a lot of ways to seal off drafts if you feel them, like with the blocks that go along the base of doorways or plastic wrap over the windows.  Do whatever it takes to keep the cold air out!  Also, many gas and electric companies offer free home energy audits, where they wander around with a device that shows exactly where air is coming in and out of your house.  Take advantage

Insulate your hot water heater.  These are usually close to an exterior wall, which means they're working extra hard to stay warm.  If yours is hot to the touch, consider getting an insulting water heater blanket so it doesn't work so hard, and cost so much, to stay warm.  You can also adjust the temperature on these, even by just 5 degrees, so the water can't get as hot.  Hot showers are bad for your skin anyway, technically!

Slowly drop your temperature.  If you set it to 70 because that's how you've always done it, try going down slowly.  Layer up and lower it to 69 for awhile, then 68, and so on.  Even 2 small degrees lower will make a significant difference in your bill, and you'll get used to the new normal in no time.  Don't forget to drop it even more while you sleep and while you're out of the house.

How do you save money when the weather turns cold?

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