Every year, without fail, Jack Frost makes an appearance. The drop in temperature is inevitably correlated to the rise in fuel payments to heat your home. According to some estimates, heating homes may account for over 70 percent of household energy consumption. This can be a big number and taking steps to reduce that figure, while still keeping your home warm, is likely something everyone is interested in.
1. Use curtains. Curtains at each window is a great way to protect your house from losing heat. The thicker the curtain is, the better. If you do not want to buy curtains, using old blankets – though not aesthetically pleasing – do the job just as well.
2. Let sunlight in. On those sunny winter days, draw open your curtains and let the sunlight in. The natural light – and free heat – helps warm your home. But be sure to close your curtains as the day comes to a close.
3. Caulk your window frames. While you may hope that the builder who constructed your home insulated around your windows before hanging the sheetrock, that hope may not be enough to stop the air leaks. In winter, those air leaks could really increase your heating bill. Applying caulk around your window frames is a minimal cost that can add up to major savings over the course of the winter season.
4. Fireplace plug. Installing a fireplace plug will help keep warm air from escaping up through your chimney. It may also help stop drafts.
5. More insulation. If areas are accessible – think attic or basement – you may want to consider adding more insulation. Older homes may have less insulation. While this can be a bigger cost up front, the savings in reduced heating costs will earn you back that money and then some.
6. Use draftstoppers. Draft stoppers under exterior doors will fill the gap underneath the door, blocking the cold outside air from seeping into your home. They are available for purchase, or you can use a rolled towel or rug.
7. Reverse ceiling fans. As you may know, warm air rises. If you reverse your ceiling fans during the winter, the fan pushes the warm air near the ceiling back down. It has been reported that this may help reduce your bill by up to 10 percent!
8. Insulate windows. If you do not have curtains or want to block the cold air even more, you can put plastic wrap or bubble wrap on your windows. While this option does not look the best, it can be a cost effective option.
9. Programmable thermostat. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can save up to 10 percent on heating (and cooling) costs. The thermostat can be set at lower temperatures while you are at work or away for extended period of time.
10. Build a terracotta pot heater. This was an interesting idea that we came across on Huffington Post. Take a jar candle, and turn a clay flower pot upside down suspended over the flame. The picture we saw showed bricks being used. The flame warms the pot and functions to warm the room.