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Stay Warm, Save Energy

Katarzyna Bialasiewicz | iStock.com

Here are a few simple energy savers that you might consider trying this season:

Turn on the ceiling fan. If you switch the direction that the fan’s blades rotate, so they slowly spin clockwise, the room could feel a bit warmer. This creates an updraft and pushes warm air back into the room. Other fans carefully placed around the house and set on low can help distribute warmth.

Retire your wood-burning fireplace. An open fire requires an open flue, and that can suck the warmth right out of your house. Consider replacing it with an electrical insert, with realistic flames or a fun light show. If you get rid of it entirely but miss the ambiance, try a screensaver on your TV of a cozy fireplace.

Open the drapes during the day; close them at night. The sun is nature’s furnace, so let it shine in through south-facing windows during the day. The greenhouse effect helps warm the home without having to adjust the thermostat.

Cover windows with plastic film. It’s easy to install and will reduce the amount of heat that escapes through uncovered windows.  

Use portable space heaters in the rooms you use most often so you can turn the thermostat down a bit and avoid heating unused spaces.

Run exhaust fans sparingly. Turn on the bathroom fan before you take a shower and turn it off as soon as the steam clears so it won’t suck warm air out of your home. The same goes for using a ventilation fan over the kitchen range: Leaving it on too long takes all the conditioned air out of the living space.

An electric blanket can deliver quick warmth like a regular throw or blanket cannot. Electric blankets can include a variety of features, like timers and dual temperature settings (if your cuddle buddy prefers less heat). This winter, consider an electric blanket instead of turning up the heat, and your energy bill will thank you.

Keep your feet warm. Our feet play a critical role in regulating body temperature, so when your feet are warm, your body automatically feels warmer. Try a pair of comfortable wool socks or house slippers to stay toasty and a sweater.

Use a humidifier. Cold air doesn’t hold water vapor like warm air, so by increasing your home’s humidity, you can feel a little warmer. A favorable level of humidity inside your home can also help clear sinuses, soften skin and improve sleep.

Area rugs can also provide extra insulation and a warm surface for your feet on cold winter days. Use large area rugs in rooms where you spend the most time. You’ll enjoy the new colors and textures of the rug, and the additional warmth will help keep your home comfortable.

Make sure your thermostat is programmed correctly and not located in an unheated space, in direct sunlight or near a heat source. The thermostat must be able to sense the average temperature in your home.

Lower your thermostat. Lowering the setting by just 1 degree can reduce energy use by 3%.

Inspect your air filters monthly. Dirty air filters cause your heater to work harder, using more energy.

Check all exterior doors for air leaks, and weatherstrip and caulk as needed. A gap of 1/8 inch around a door is equivalent to a 6-square-inch hole in the side of your house.

Posted: 2/18/2021 11:21:22 AM
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