Home Heat Cost Saving Tips
By: Mark Bloomer, Meteorologist
The rising costs of home heating fuel as we approach another long cold winter has many of us concerned about how we are going to afford to keep our home warm and cozy. You don’t have to be chilled this winter. There are creative ways you can preserve heat in your home and maintain your comfort while keeping heating costs manageable.
When you take a bath or shower, keep the hot water in the tub until the water cools. This will allow the heat from the water to warm your home instead of being thrown out with the water. Warm water holds a tremendous amount of heat energy. Just look at the amazing power that hurricanes can draw from the warm waters of the tropical oceans. The energy used to heat hot water for your baths and showers can be allowed to warm your home if you save the hot water until it cools. Otherwise, all that heat energy will drain away and go into heating the ground in your back yard instead of your home.
Do you have some rooms in your house that you don’t use very often? Perhaps the dining room isn’t used often because you usually eat in the kitchen, or perhaps there are some bedrooms that are empty because your children have grown up and moved on. You can “centralize” your heat into the rooms you spend most of your time in. Keep only your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and TV room heated. Close the doors and heating vents in all the other rooms that you don’t spend much time in. Limiting the rooms you heat will allow you to use less heating energy and keep the rooms you spend time in comfortably warm.
Caulk any areas along your floors, windows, doors and walls where cold air is leaking in. One approach to doing this is to buy a caulking gun and some silicone ahead of time. Then, during a very cold morning, pass your hand along the edges of walls, windows and doors to feel for any cold drafts. Apply the caulking where the cold air is entering.
Bank snow up around your foundation, piling it up and above the level where the siding begins. Just step out with a snow shovel during the first deep fluffy snow around the holiday season, and go around your house shoveling snow up against the sides. Repeat this anytime you can follow a deep snowstorm to augment the insulation around the base of your home.
How you manage your windows can play a significant role in saving energy. Keep the windows on the south side of your home clean, and make sure the curtains and shades of your southern windows are open during sunny days to let sunshine in. Close the curtains and shades at night to limit the amount of heat that is lost through your windows.
Keeping the heater set low at night, when it’s coldest, can keep your heating cost down. Get some very warm blankets to add to your bed and get a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set a colder temperature for your home during the night when you’re sleeping, and set a warmer temperature for your home during the day. You can program the thermostat to switch to the lower setting at the time you usually go to bed, and then switch back to the warmer setting an hour or so before you rise so the house is warm when you get out of bed.
And finally, if you choose to save energy by keeping your home cool this winter, be sure to keep yourself warm by dressing in plenty of warm clothes. Flannel and Polartec are very comfortable and can be quite warm, especially if worn in layers. Remember to keep your feet, legs and neck warm as well as your upper body. Keeping yourself warm is important for your health as well as your comfort.