I already talked a bit about some ways to winterize your home, but here are a few more ideas to help you stay warm. Besides taking the time to insulate your home and promote good airflow, there are still some other quick hacks you can employ. This list is aimed at specifically attacking and reducing your energy bill. If you’ve already used my 11 ways to winterize, here are a few more ways to save money.
- Hang fabric barriers between rooms: If you tend to hang out more often in certain rooms of your house, close off unused areas. If you don’t have doors, use beautiful tapestries or curtains. This won’t insulate as well as a door would, but it’s certainly better than big, open hallways. Try to pretend you live in a smaller place than you probably do, and concentrate on only heating your most often-used rooms.
- Program your thermostat to heat during off-peak hours: Energy tends to be cheaper after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m. If you have a programmable thermostat (which you should invest in if you don’t), set it to heat your home during those hours. During the day, open your south-facing curtains and use the power of the sun to heat your house.
- Humidify your dry rooms: A dry home feels colder than a moist home. In addition to controlling the heat, also humidify to create the illusion of warmth. You don’t necessarily need a fancy, expensive humidifier to get that done, either. Just boil some water on the stove for a bit. If you live alone, shower with the door open to spread the humidity across other rooms. You could also air-dry some of your laundry.
- Buy an electric blanket: These use less energy than you think, and they tend to make you much more comfortable. Also invest in sweaters, blankets, slippers, soft rugs, hot water bottles for your bed, or anything else that will help you resist the urge to constantly turn up the heat.
- Bake more often: While you shouldn’t use only your oven to heat your home, baking on really cold days can help rooms of your home get warmer. When you’re done baking, turn off your oven but keep the oven door open to leak out that warmth into the whole house.
- Lower your electricity use in other ways: If you have a high electric bill, it might not all be a result of the heat. We live in a time when we use a ton of appliances: TVs, gaming systems, computers, etc. I personally have a charging station with a bunch of cell-phone chargers plugged in. Keep in mind that all things that are plugged in usually still use at least some energy. Many of your bigger devices have a “sleep,” “standby,” or “energy-saving” mode, but even those modes still use energy. Fully shut down your devices after using them, and check your time-out settings. Turn off whole power strips. Otherwise, your electricity bill might be high almost completely due to what some call “vampire energy.”
- Check for rebates and programs: Take the time to take a close look at your bill. Make sure the information is correct, and also see if your electricity provider offers any incentive programs. Do they offer deals if you do business entirely online, for instance?
- Put foil behind an old-school radiator: If you’re in an older apartment, you probably have one of these old radiators. An old hack is to put high-quality foil behind the radiator to reflect heat back into the room, rather than letting it seep into the walls.
- Create a fancy candle-powered heater: Use this tutorial to create a super-easy candle heater out of a tea-light candle and ceramic pots. It’s cheap and simple!