Here comes the winter in another 3 months (I live in Boston now), and as the snow begins to fall and the air gets cold, every breath you take seems to come out in clouds from a smoke spewing chimney. All you wish to do is crank up the heater, swaddle up in your favourite sweater and sleep. Yet, you cannot sleep all day nor do you want to keep the heater running all day. For the longer it runs, the deeper it burns your pockets. In other words, the heating system may warm you up, but it burns you with the bills.
In a typical American home, heating and cooling bills account for 56% (more than half) of utilities. This certainly does not give you a “cheering point “in face of ever rising utilities’ prices. Yet, you cannot avoid these expenses, unless you are one of those polar bears that hibernate through the winter or you are one of the X-Men mutants with the power to withstand any temperature. So, I thought I would make a list of ideas during summer so you can get yourself prep up for the winter.
- BUNDLE UP IN WARM CLOTHES – Return of the Ages!
Are you staying indoors for only a short while? Then, put to good use those mittens /sweater that you bought. Cover up yourself with sufficient warm clothes. Every time you feel a chill, you need not go and put on the heater.
- INVEST IN AN INFRARED HEATER.
As technology grows, products have become small, convenient and more economical. IR heaters have many pros to its credit. It is low priced, requires no fuel, heats up instantly and does not harm your health. Unlike other conventional heaters or fireplaces that need gas or wood to function, infrared heaters are the best sources to heat up the small surface areas by radiating heat from its heated surface to nearby areas within a room.
- AVOID UNNECESSARY HEATING.
Keep in mind that it is you who has to be warm, not the entire house. So you can avoid loss of heat by closing off the thermostat in unused bedrooms, guest rooms or storage rooms.
- MIND YOUR THERMOSTAT.
According to Bill Prindle (Former Deputy Director of American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), for every degree you set back your thermostat, you cut down 3% on your heating bill. So turn it down when you are going out or getting into bed and you can save nearly 14% on the bill.
- INVEST IN A SMART THERMOSTAT
Internet and technology has made life very easy and manageable. If you are one of those who forget to turn down your thermostat as you leave, buy a smart thermostat. They are programmed to work automatically or you can operate them even from your laptop/desktop/mobile phone through internet.
- USE FANS WISELY.
The exhaust fan in your kitchen may help to keep off cooking smoke off your face, but use it sparingly on cold days. The exhaust fan pulls out all the hot air in the house and expels it promptly. On the other hand, the ceiling fan helps to retain the hot air. It pushes down hot air and circulates it.
- FIND YOUR HEAT ROBBERS.
Most often, heat gets lost unintentionally through leaks. Heat generated through our heaters and furnaces slips out through the door and window gaps. So, be sure to caulk your windows regularly. You can install door sweeps to plug the gap under the doors.
- USE LED HOLIDAY LIGHTS.
The winter not only brings in chill and snow but also the celebratory days in Christmas and New Year. Use LED lights to decorate your home. They use 75% less energy and save up to 25% as compared to incandescent lighting. Also they last longer.
- CHECK AND MAINTAIN THE HEATING SYSTEM.
There is no worse thing like bad maintenance which can play havoc with your life and finances. Either DIY or hiring a technician or using an AMC, always maintain regular checks on your heating system. If you neglect doing so, not only will you be forced to shell out piles of money later but you also put yours’ and your family safety at risk.
As an honest citizen and taxpayer, you are honour bound to make these bill payments, but you can also save a lot by keeping a constant check on your consumption. Keep in mind the above points and you can end up enjoying a truly warm, safe and joyful holidays.