Saving Money Simply: Winterize Your Home!
by Jocelyn Anne

As winter hits us full speed and promises to only get more taxing as January and February fast approach, if you haven’t already put some thought into how you will winterize your home, now is definitely time!  You can save money on your energy bill each and every month and stay warmer without having to invest in any new products or change anything drastically in your home or about how you live.  Here are a few of the easiest and simplest ways to make a difference:
Do a Seal Check:  In most homes, approximately 35% of heat is lost through air leakage.  By going around your home and double checking for any large cracks or small openings (hiding behind light switches, by doors, etc.) that could be letting heat out and sealing them off, you’ll maintain that much more heat in your home.

Cut the Temperature Down:  You should easily be able to take your normal thermostat setting and turn it down two degrees and adjust in a week or two without noticing much.  Bundle up just a bit extra for the first week and by the end you’ll be acclimated and saving for the rest of the year.  Always wearing shoes and socks will go a long ways to keeping you warm and cozy.

Turn the Hot Water Down: Most hot water heaters are set to 140 degrees standard but nearly no one will ever need water this hot.  Turning your hot water heater down to 120 degrees will save you significantly and you will never notice the difference!

Check Your Fans:  Most ceiling fans have a reverse and a forward setting.  You want to make sure yours are set to reverse during the winter months.  This will push the hot air that rises to the ceiling back down to the ground where you can feel it and enjoy it, eliminating the need to feel like turning the thermostat up.

Seal off the Chimney:  If you have a chimney that you are not using or use rarely, consider sealing it off completely and eliminating the very large amounts of heat loss through the large hole.

Cut the Heat at Night:  There’s no point in paying to heat your entire home during the night when you won’t be leaving your bedroom.  Opt to use a small electric room heater or even a heated mattress pad/blanket.  This will give you a chance to save on central heating all night long and save significantly on your power bill for the month.

Minimize the Rooms You Use: Even during the day, chances are good that you spend the majority of your time in just one or two rooms.  This is especially true if you work out of a home office.  If this is the case, see if it’s more energy efficient for you to use small energy-efficient room heaters and stay in a couple rooms, rather than heat the entire house.  At the very least, make sure you close off vents to rooms you rarely use like the guest room.

Tinfoil & Your Radiator:
  By placing something reflective, like tinfoil, on the wall behind your radiator, you will give the heat an opportunity to reflect back to the radiator, creating a cycle that requires less heat produced.  Make sure the shiny side is out.

Take Advantage of the Sunshine:
  There’s nothing better than the free warmth of the sun.  Take every chance you get to let sunlight into your home and make sure all your shades are wide open during the daylight hours.

Wrap the Hot Water Heater:
You can buy inexpensive ($10) insulating blankets for your hot water heater that will prevent heat loss and cut down on the amount of energy it drains.

Clean Furnace Filters:
By changing out your furnace filters once a month, you’ll cut down on the amount of energy needed, as you won’t need the same amount of power to push through dirty filters full of dust and debris.  If you don’t want to buy them once a month, make sure to at least start the season with new ones and then clean regularly.
With just some simple painless adjustments, you can take a big dent out of your energy bill and save money all winter long!

Jocelyn Anne is a heating appliance expert for and helps write content that allows families to save money and heat more efficiently.