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Winter is officially upon us, and many cities across North America will be enjoying a white Christmas, especially those in more northern states. And while most people love a white Christmas, just keeping warm can be a challenge, not to mention expensive depending on where you live and how big your home is.
The good news is that you can have your cake and eat it – so to speak – especially if you know how to keep warm while saving money during the winter months. On average, energy bills for the average American household increase by as much as 50% over the festive season. Unfortunately, while the idea is great for the kids, there isn’t really any Santas around who show up to pay your bills, just when you need them most. If you know how, there are ingenious but straightforward ways to save money this winter and to keep as warm as possible at the same time.
The first piece of advice we have today is to dress warmly as soon as you start to feel the cold. That means wearing plenty of layers, including undershirts and cozy fleeces. When you dress warmly, the core of your body doesn’t get too cold no matter how biting the rain, wind, or snow is. Keep plenty of blankets handy at home and wrap one around you or a family member when the temperature plummets further like after dark or heading into the new year. Dressing right and wearing plenty of warm layers is the first step to keeping warm this winter.
Drop the Temp
Too many of us get used to cranking up the heating at home at the first sign of a nip in the air as fall slides into winter. Keeping the hot air or central heating system on full blast is costly and, in many cases, completely unnecessary. Layer up with clothes and get plenty of those soft blankets ready. Now it’s time to crank down the heat and see what happens. With many heating systems, less is more, and keeping yourself and your home appropriately insulated can be more cost-effective than any amount of heating, whether gas or electric.
While eating right in the winter is another great tip; what we’re referring to here is eating food at home during the winter months as much as possible. When you cook at home, the stove emits a large amount of heat and can warm the kitchen and downstairs areas without the need for central air. It’s a great idea to leave the oven on with the door open after you’ve cooked dinner for the family for a few minutes. This sends heat into the home as the temperatures outside plummet lower and lower as the night hours draw in. Some leftover pie warmed through is also the ideal snack to keep you warm.
If you live in a large home, or simply find you and your family occupying only two or three rooms in the house regularly, consider investing in some space heaters. Space heaters aren’t so efficient compared to other heating methods, but if you have small, focused areas only to heat, they can save money. Heating just the kitchen and living room with space heaters (which can be kept on time switches to save even more money) is cheaper overall than using a furnace or central system that heats the whole house. Make sure you turn the heater off every time you leave the room for long periods, and you’ll most likely see a significant drop in your energy bills.
Less Hot Water
Water bills constitute a large part of overall energy expenses for the average home. Reducing the temperature on the thermostat for your hot water can dramatically lower your energy bills. For most of us, 120 F is around the sweet spot for that perfect shower or bath. That’s also the ideal temperature for reducing the possibility of bacteria growing in the bathroom and tanks. Start by setting your water heating thermostat to 125 F and see if the water at shower time is hot enough. If it isn’t, increase the dial on the thermostat incrementally until you find the right (minimum) temperature that works for you.