Keep you heating bills to a minimum
With colder weather on the way, controlling your heating costs is important, even more so if you are one of many people working from home. You can’t just turn your thermostat down during the day since you’ll need to be comfortable while in your house. So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
Check your home for air leaks
This task is best done in the evening or at night, when it’s dark. The simplest way to check that doors and windows are well-sealed is by using a candle. Take it and follow the perimeter of all exterior windows and doors. If it flickers excessively, you probably have a leak. A little caulk and/or weather stripping goes a long way in reducing heat loss in these areas.
Replace your furnace’s air filter
Filters are designed to catch dirt and dust to prevent them from circulating through your air. That debris eventually clogs the filter, limiting the air flow. Then your furnace has to work harder and is less efficient at pushing the warm air through. Filters are inexpensive and available on line or at any home improvement store. They are easy to change, too (no contractor necessary).
Install a programmable thermostat
This idea will also help reduce your air conditioning bills in the summer. If you have a regular schedule (when you sleep, when you are home and when you aren’t), you can program your thermostat. It’s easy to override it if your schedule changes, but setting it to be cooler when you need less heat will reduce your costs.
Inspect your ducts
Make a quick inspection of your ducts. If you see any areas where air could escape, seal them with DUCT tape (yes, this is actually what its original purpose was!)
Lower your water heater thermostat
Many water heaters are set too high–you really don’t need water to come out of your taps that could burn you. Particularly in the winter, don’t make your water heater have to keep water heated to an unnecessarily high temperature. Reduce your heating costs by keeping it around 125°. Shorter showers will help, too.
Reverse your fan’s direction
Do you have ceiling fans? Do you know that the angle of the blade determines whether the fan pushes air down or pulls it up? If you run your fans in a clockwise direction, they will pull the cool air up toward the ceiling. Then whatever warm air is being pumped in can be better distributed.
Even though you’re not going outside, adjust your wardrobe. Wear a sweater and be sure to wear warm socks (when your feet are cold, your body feels cold all over). Even if you’re working from home in your pajamas, wear the flannel ones and put your slippers on, too!
Close off vents in unused spaces
If you have vents or radiators supplying heat to areas of your house you don’t use, turn them down or off! I know many people who have third floors they don’t really use unless they have guests. Why heat them? Also, remember that hot air rises, so, even if you do use those spaces, you can probably turn the thermostats down a few degrees.
Harness your cooking heat
If you like to cook, bake or make soup (a great winter activity), harness that heat! Leave the oven door open after you are finished cooking so the residual heat warms the space. A simmering pot of soup brings steam into the kitchen, which will warm up the house. And who wouldn’t enjoy a nice warm cookie right out of the oven on a cold day? It’s a win-win!
For some other ideas, click here.