It happens every year. The thermostat says the room is 72 and yet I’m chilly. And for some reason, it’s only in the fall. If the room is 72 in the spring or summer, we are plenty warm.
But as fall rolls around, it’s a signal that it’s time to put away the tank tops and pull out the wool socks.
There is no escaping the need to stay warm in cool weather, but there are ways to help control the associated costs.
1. Maintain the furnace
Once fall settles in, it is a good time to get a furnace tune-up and either clean or replace your furnace filters.
Doing this could easily save 5-10% on your heating costs because the furnace will work better after being tuned up and it’ll have better air flow as well.
2. Close the fireplace damper
Both houses we have lived in have been older and, for some unknown reason, the fireplaces have never had working dampers. Or even any at all. We were losing a whole heck of a lot of heat up the chimney.
At our latest house, we were trying to decide between replacing windows first or installing dampers. Windows won because the thought was that would save more on the heating bill. That and 40+ year old single pane aluminum windows just weren’t cutting it.
Lo and behold, we didn’t see a huge dip in heating costs that year. But after installing dampers on the chimney? Yep. That year we did have noticeable savings. Our warm air had literally been going up the chimney.
3. Use a programmable thermostat
While you are at home and awake setting the thermostat to 68 is good, but when you are sleeping, you actually sleep better at cooler temperatures.
Please, don’t do what neighbors we once had did. They turned the heat off all winter to save money. They wore multiple layers of clothes, coats, hats and gloves inside all winter. Not surprisingly, their friends didn’t want to visit and they also had issues with their pipes.
Try setting the thermostat for 65 at night or even 60 if you pile on the blankets. Then program the thermostat to start warming the house up just before you normally wake up in the morning. Same goes for while you are gone during the day or on vacation.
If you have a heat pump, though, you might only want to vary the temp by about 2 degrees to minimize the use of backup strip heating.
4. Seal door drafts
Ever notice a bit of a breeze or even see daylight from around your door? There are a few approaches to handling door drafts.
The easiest and least expensive is probably a door snake. This is basically a tube of fabric you place at the bottom of your door. You just need to remember to remove it and put it back as needed.
Beyond that, adding some weather stripping to the bottom of your door is another, but slightly more labor intensive option.
5. Thick curtains
During the day, you want to have your curtains open to allow sunlight in. That will help raise the temperature a couple degrees. At night, though, some nice heavy curtains covering the windows will help keep the chill out.
6. Leave the oven door open
This does not mean you should heat the room with your oven (never do that).
But, if you are using your oven, leave it open a crack while it cools down after baking for some lovely added warmth. And only do it if you don’t have little ones wandering around.
7. Dress warmer
It is cold outside, so why keep the heat cranked up so warm that you are wearing short-sleeve shirts inside? You’ll just have to bundle up even more when you go out.
Dress appropriately for the season as it is one of the easiest ways to stay warm. Wear long sleeves or even a sweater and you’ll be able to lower that thermostat and stay comfortable indoors or out.
8. Insulate your windows
Do you have a lot of cold air around your windows? There are many ways to approach this, but the easiest are to use an inexpensive window film or install weather stripping.
You can go even further by installing storm windows, though it is more expensive.
9. Put ceiling fan on reverse
It seemed crazy when I first heard about it, but it’s true. If you have a ceiling fan, switch it to run clockwise during the winter. This will draw cool air up and force warm air down. Just set the fan to low and it will actually help keep the room feeling warmer in the winter.
10. Wear socks or slippers
If your feet are cold, your body will feel cold as well. Keep them warm with some nice socks or fuzzy slippers. On extra chilly nights, I even wear socks to bed and it makes a huge difference.
Now it’s time to put on my wool socks and settle in with a nice cup of tea.
Have you found other ways to stay warm?