During the winter months, heating systems typically account for more than 40 percent of customers’ energy bills. There are steps you can take without spending a fortune to decrease the demand chilly temperatures, It might take a little time and energy-but when you see your energy bill decrease you’ll be glad you took the initiative to “help your warming system”.
Out with the old and in with the new. Install a programmable thermostat. This will keep your bill low, and your efficiency high. Instead of having to manually fiddle with your thermostat every time you leave the house or every time you come back home, This Old House recommends programming your thermostat for the following temps/times during the week if your house is empty during the day (they also recommend setting the thermostat to 55 degrees when you go on vacation for a few days or more):
6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 68 degrees
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 60 degrees
5:30 to 11 p.m. = 68 degrees
11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 60 degrees
Take advantage of your neighbor’s generosity. If you live on the upper level of an apartment building lower your thermostat to 60 degrees and leave it there. Heat rises. Unless there is severe cold temperatures outside the rising heat from the apartment(s) below yours will contribute to the warmth of your apartment. I shaved a good 5% off of my utility bill when I lived in an apartment doing this one winter.
When cooking, lower the thermostat. The heat from the range and / or oven will warm the immediate room and surrounding rooms in single level homes.
Open the curtains and blinds. Let Sunshine in during the day. Mother nature wants to help you heat your home for free. Take the gift. Open your blinds or curtains and let the sunshine in. The sunshine will also eliminate the need to have some lights on as well.
Close the curtains and blinds. After the sun goes down close the curtains or blinds to discourage heat from escaping .
Close the fireplace flue when not using the fireplace. An opened flue is the equivalent of having an opened window in your home. Warm air will escape out of the chimney quicker than a convict with cell keys can get out of jail.
Use your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans have a “winter “setting” that spins them in a counter clock-wise rotation that will force rising heat back down into a room.
Make sure your vents are not obscured by furniture or some other obstacle.
Seal Those Gaps. The movement of air in and out of homes and other buildings, essentially create large-scale chimneys. The rising warm air in a home will pull in cool air from the outside through any gap it can find. This creates negative pressure in lower levels, which acts like a suction cup because that warm escaping air needs to be replaced. This pulls cool air in and obviously chills the home.
Get Three Dogs. Three Dog Night is much more than an old school rock band. Old Eskimo folklore has it that back in the day on real cold nights, Eskimos slept with three dogs at night. One dog on each side of the body and one at their feet or head. Dogs are warm and cuddly – just remember to lower the thermostat.
Dodge The Door Draft – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture — the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door to help keep your dollars from going with the wind.
Clean Your Furnace Filters. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.Yes I know you’ve heard this one many times before but it costs way less to replace filters than it does to pay the price for operating a system with dirty ones.
Dress warm when you’re in the house. Rock a sweater or at the least long sleeves when it’s chilly outside.
A word of caution about keeping your interior temperature low – don’t create an atmosphere that is conducive to colds and flu in the attempt to save money. In other words don’t go overboard. These are just a few of many ways you can economically manipulate winter energy use in your home or apartment.