Living in Tennessee, this homegrown SoCal girl has had to make some quick adaptations to what a real winter is truly about. I have a profound respect for those who live in rugged conditions without all of the comforts of home or the perfect San Diego weather year-round. What I have learned is that there are many different ways to stay warm and not run up a high energy bill while doing it, but it does take some creativity and planning, at times. So far this Fall, we have already had freezing temps and a dusting of snow and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket, in my fleece jammies, sipping hot tea or cocoa and hibernate.
Instead, my goal for this year is to stay warm and save money. So I want to share with you some tips on how I am making that happen.
Did you know that most energy guides will tell you to set your thermostat to 68 during the day and 58 at night? ¬†That’s right, just a few degrees up or down can make a huge difference in your energy bill. As a stay/work at home Mom, I keep ours set at 66 for the daytime, 58 at night. If we get cold, we layer up a bit. During the day we are in long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, socks and shoes to stay warm and throw on an extra cuddly sweatshirt as needed. ¬†At night, we have fleece blankets and down comforters on the beds along with jersey t-shirt sheets to avoid the dread of a cold bed. There are blankets everywhere, so everyone can stay warm.
We installed programmable thermostats so that we don’t need to remember to adjust the temps. ¬†They are very affordable and easy to install yourself. ¬†Keeping the temperature steady uses less energy as the system self-regulates to maintain the temps. And remember that cranking it up to 80 degrees won’t heat your house up any faster, but can cause your heater to wear out faster. ¬†Don’t forget to change your filters monthly!
One of the best things about this time of year is I cook a lot. ¬†Using the oven warms up the kitchen and the house and I get to create insanely delicious meals that fill us up and keep us warm. Chili and cornbread, roasted chicken, soups and stews with lots of fall vegetables…yum, I get hungry just thinking about it all! ¬†Bake some pies, some bread, try your hand at canning.
Check for draft spots
Doors and windows are notorious for being drafty, but luckily it is typically an easy fix. If you feel cold air coming from a window or door, check the weatherstripping¬†or caulking and replace/repair as necessary. Insulated window coverings are great at keeping the cold/heat out.
If you have a fireplace, be sure to keep the damper closed when not in use. ¬†Be sure maintain and inspect the hearth and chimney in the off-season, including checking the seal on the flue damper.
If you have a traditional water heater, check the manufacturer’s website for tips on how to maintain and clean your water heater. Consider wrapping exposed pipes as well as the tank itself with approved materials and according to manufacturer’s specifications. Lower the temperature settings to 120 degrees or lower to save on overall costs.