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10 Ways to Stay Warm and Comfortable While Saving Money

by vscontent on November 4, 2016

woman with shawl and hot drink - ways to stay warm and comfortableStaying warm and cozy during the winter season can be easy and cost effective if you know the right tricks. Instead of hiking up heating costs, find energy efficient alternatives to heat your home.

Here are 10 winter hacks to help you stay warm and cozy without breaking the bank:

1. Insulate Doors and Windows

To stop cold drafts from doors and windows, seal all air leaks around the perimeter. Weatherstripping and caulking are 2 do-it-yourself methods that can prevent cold spots and save you money on your next heating bill. The benefits of weatherization don’t just stop at the end of winter; sealed windows keep cold air inside the home during the cooling season.

2. Insulate the Attic

Adding insulation to your attic is another easy solution for blocking out cold air. The process is simple and can be accomplished in a few hours. Extra insulation doesn’t just block out air, it fills your pockets as well. Adding just a couple inches of attic insulation can knock hundreds of dollars off your next heating bill, while keeping your house nice and cozy. 

3. Light a Fire

Whether you’re using a wood or gas fireplace, a fire is always a great way to stay warm. Fireplaces can help save on heating costs, but only if you turn off the furnace when the fireplace is on. Make sure you have your chimney inspected and cleaned periodically. Use these fireplace safety tips to prevent fires and burns.

When the fireplace is not in use, make sure the flue creates a complete seal. If there is air escaping out your chimney, replace the flue or use a chimney balloon to seal it off.

4. Use Portable Space Heaters

Want an easy, energy-efficient way to heat any room? A portable space heater is a great investment if you are looking to lower your monthly energy bill. These affordable, energy-saving machines provide heat to any room, serving as a secondary heating system. While the electricity costs to run a portable space heater are higher than natural gas rates, if you are in one spot for a long period of time, a space heater can keep you warm without having to rely on your central heating system.

Space heaters emit no smoke or gas, so if you dislike the smell of your furnace or fireplace, consider a space heater as a heating alternative. Just make sure that you are following manufacturer instructions and these space heater safety tips.

5. Use Electric Blankets and Mattress Pads

Thermal comfort has never been more luxurious with modern heating technology. Heated mattresses are clean and quiet while heated blankets are safe and affordable alternatives to hiking up your thermostat. Although both can save you a substantial amount of money on your heating bill, a warming pad will probably use somewhat less electricity.

When using your electric heating pads, make sure you lower the thermostat or turn off the heat entirely. You aren’t saving any money if you are using both.

6. Install a Smart or Programmable Thermostat 

Have an old school thermostat? Consider investing in a programmable one! These energy-savers can automatically lower temperature in your home or workplace, paying for their cost within a season. Use these tips for optimizing your programmable thermostat for maximum energy-savings:

programmable thermostat tips

Some programmable thermostats and all “smart” thermostats allow homeowners to control their thermostat from an iPhone or computer, giving you control of the temperature in your home from any location.

7. Home Energy Audit

If you are still experiencing high energy bills, it may be time to measure your home’s energy consumption. Home energy audits can help identify if air leaks that are causing heat to escape from walls, doors, and windows. Plus, home audits can be done within 45 minutes and can save you up to $600 a year in energy costs.

Call your local HVAC company to perform a home energy audit and identify the largest sources of energy loss in your home. 

8. New Energy-Efficient Appliances

Large appliances not only impact your wallet but your home life as well. During the winter season, HVAC systems and other appliances begin to expire, so find out what maintenance is required to keep your appliances operating efficiently. Need a new HVAC? Schedule a home heating tune-up every fall to ensure you have a cost-effective system during this winter season.

Buy ENERGYSTAR refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances for the highest energy efficiencies. 

9. Reduce Hot Water Temperature

Lowering your hot water temperature can save you a pretty penny all year long. Your bathroom and kitchen water contribute to high heating costs if water isn’t set to the proper temperature setting.

So set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the standard 140 degrees and wash clothes using cold water as much as possible. In return, you will avoid scalding temperatures and save around 10% on your water heating bill, making your wallet comfortable as well.

10. Change Furnace Filter

Change your furnace filter every 30-60 days. Frequent filter replacements not only stave off repairs, but also extend the lifespan of your HVAC system and improves comfort and indoor air quality. It’s the single most important HVAC maintenance task a homeowner can do.

Some systems even have an automatic shutoff switch when the filter gets too clogged, so if your furnace won’t turn on, check the air filter first.

When replacing the air filter, make sure you write the date somewhere on the filter itself. This way, you will know exactly how long it has been since your last furnace replacement.

What tricks do you have for keeping your home in the winter?

More Home Winterization Tips: 

For maximum energy savings this winter, call Pacific Air Systems for your fall furnace tune-up.

Since 1984, we’ve proudly served homeowners throughout Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma, and Gig Harbor.

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