With temperatures this winter teetering toward historical lows, biting winds keeping schoolchildren at home, and icy banks of snow piling up even in states that ordinarily don’t see very much wintery precipitation, you’re probably asking yourself how you can tone down those ridiculous home heating bills a bit. It might seem counterintuitive, but the problem is particularly poignant in southern states, unused to the extreme cold, when the heater seems to run pretty much non-stop to keep up with the heating demands. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do this winter to keep that heating bill from sucking down your whole budget!
Not everyone’s used to wearing layers, especially in the deep south, but layering up during cold weather gives you the chance to take the thermostat down a few degrees while still warding off the chill. While you’re at home, don’t be afraid of a cozy pair of fleece-lined slippers, thick, heavy sweatpants, and a nice, bulky sweater. Sure, it may not be particularly fashionable, and going out might require a change, but what’s better than a cool day and warm clothes - nothing, is what! If you have a hard time finding really comfortable cool weather clothes, try your local outdoor adventure store or a hunting supply store such as Cabella’s or Bass Pro Shops. These stores carry far more than the traditional camouflage clothes you might associate with outdoors stores, and their warm and cozy comfort might just surprise you!
Avoid the Fireplace!
Again, this seems a bit counterintuitive, but in reality, fireplaces in today’s newly constructed homes are not necessarily put in place for their functionality, but rather for the “quaint” appeal of having a wood fire on a cool day. Unless you have a heating system that circulates the warmth throughout the house, you might find that the room that has the fireplace in it gets nice and toasty warm while the rest of the house takes on a frigid temperature. Why does this happen? Well, it depends on the placement of your thermostat. If it’s in the room where the fireplace is located, instead of against an interior wall in another room, then the device will read that the house’s temperature has risen, and will shut off the furnace. Then, when you’re done with the fireplace, the furnace has to turn back on and work overtime to heat the house back up. In these cases, remember that the furnace running at an average temperature uses less energy than a furnace that has to build temperature back up again.
It’s never too late in the season to throw down some extra insulation in your attic! In fact, it’s a particularly good idea in the south, since builders don’t typically put much insulation in to begin with. Houses in warmer climates simply aren’t constructed to deal with harsher cold temperatures. What’s the benefit, then? For starters, you’ll pay less on your summer cooling costs, as well. The extra insulation will help keep the cool air in place this summer, and keep the warm air in this winter. It’s a win-win scenario!
It takes a force of will to turn down the thermostat in your home, particularly when you’ve got family to think about that doesn’t necessarily want to feel cool when they’re getting out of the shower, but it is the single best way to save money on your energy costs. Sure, some family members might gripe a bit, but after all, when it could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the winter cold spell, don’t you owe it to yourself to make ‘em suffer a little bit? It’s cathartic, really!