Fall is upon us folks and so accordingly we’ve been busy winterizing our home in anticipation of our harsh eastern Canadian winter. Temperatures regularly drop to minus 40 or below and in an effort to keep our utility bills as low as possible we apply some cheap effective hacks to keep our home warm during the winter months which can easily last from December to April.
Heating costs account for a substantial portion of our monthly expenditures and although we’re on a budget plan (equalized payments determined by 12 months of previous consumption) we opt to do whatever we can to help keep our home warm and our costs low. As it stands more than 60% of our yearly total utility costs are attributed to the excess energy we consume during the cold harsh winter months.
Interestingly enough, we’ve been able to compare the cost of heating this home to the cost accrued by the previous owner and I’m happy to report that our consumption was down more than 25% which means that our cheap effective hacks to keep this home warm during the winter do in fact work!
Here’s how we do it folks!
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Effective Hacks that keep homes warm(er) in the winter
Drop the temperature at night
During daytime hours we keep our thermostats at around 69 degrees which keeps our home comfortably warm. It’s not hot by any means but with layered clothing, warm slippers and regular daytime activities happening in the house we are reasonably warm and comfortable. Setting your thermostat too high actually encourages heat loss which is essentially the equivalent of throwing money out the window. Warm air tends to be lost quickly and so keeping your home in the range of 69-72 degrees decreases the rate of thermal energy loss through windows, doors and leaky spots throughout your home. At 8pm, we drop our thermostats to 66 degrees and a timer kicks on at 6am to warm the house back to 69. Digital thermostats are a lifesaver!
Don’t heat and close doors to unused rooms
Most people use the same areas of their homes on a day to day bases. Our home is a 2 floor cottage which means that my small family spends the majority of our waking hours on the main floor in our open concept kitchen and living room. When we’re downstairs we avoid heating the upper floor and drop the temp to a cool 60 degrees with the use of programmable digital thermostats. We’re not up there to require the warmth and to save cash we opt to heat it minimally. We also don’t heat our office, garage and storage rooms despite having baseboard heaters installed in each of those. These rooms although “cold” are sufficiently warm as a result of heating the commonly used areas of our home to prevent damage to walls, pipes and other household fittings that could potentially be damaged by extreme cold.
Drop the temp when you’re out
When we head out we’ve made it a habit to drop the temp in our home. This saves us a ton of cash. Why heat your home if you aren’t there to enjoy it? If you work outside the home and are out of the house for 6+ hours per day you can potentially save a heap of money by turning down your thermostats. Ideally, dropping the temp somewhere between 58-62 degrees will protect your home from damage and save your a ton of money in the process.
Harness the power of the sun
The sun is incredibly powerful folks and simply opening up the curtains in all rooms provides you with a free heat source. Make it a point to leave the curtains open on cold sunny days to help raise the temperature in your home without forcing your heating source.
Keep Curtains closed at night
At sun down shut those curtains to provide a barrier for heat loss. We’ve actually invested some money into thicker winter curtains that we switch out with light and airy summer curtains around this time of year. The thick material helps contain the warmth inside the home and prevents heat from escaping through cold windows.
Move furniture away from heat sources
If you’ve got furniture placed in front of your heat sources you may want to consider moving them to other areas of your home. Blocking heat sources with couches, shelving or other household pieces of furniture blocks warm air from circulating causing your home to feel colder than it should.
Seal any leaks
Windows, doors and exposed piping are notorious for cold air leaks. By investing in some inexpensive caulking or insulation spray foam you can prevent warm air from escaping your home. Recently, Mer re-caulked our front windows in anticipation of the cold weather setting in. A 10$ investment is going to save us a ton of cash on heating this winter.
Layer up your floors
If you’ve got rugs in your bedrooms, office spaces or other areas of your home that you don’t use all that regularly you might want to consider moving them to the common areas of your home. Layering the floor with rugs and carpets helps maintain the temperature and warmth of a room.
Keep yourself warm
Dressing appropriately is key to staying warm and comfortable without spending a fortune on heating costs. We live in a cold climate where the weather regularly hits minus 40 or below. To keep extra warm on those extra frigid nights layer clothing, wear warm socks and invest in a good warm pair of slippers to keep your feet toasty. Instead of cranking up the thermostat or furnace to keep warm adjust what you’re wearing to warm yourself up! This principle applies to sleeping as well. Instead of heating your room with extra energy try layering blankets to keep warm and cozy while you sleep!
Use your oven
Winter is the best time to use your oven regularly. Cooking and baking is an incredible and free way to distribute heat throughout your house. Using the oven to prepare meals not only accomplishes feeding your family delicious food but it helps warm up your living space in the process. Win win am I right?