What if we told you that you could spend less on your heating bill this winter, and use that money elsewhere — like, taking your kids out for hot chocolate, for example?
In South Dakota?
Yep! While we can’t make the sun come out, we do have some control over how much energy we use heating our homes.
1. Clean your Vents, Radiators, and Ducts
Warm air can only flow through your home efficiently if it has ample access to do so.
Make sure there aren’t any desks or beds blocking the vents in your house. If so, consider rearranging — at least for a season! This is also a good time to dust the vents and radiators.
Don’t forget about your ducts! Over time, your ducts can collect dust and debris. This makes it harder for the heat to flow through your home, and can also reduce the air quality for those who suffer from allergies. Learn more about hiring a professional duct cleaner this winter.
2. Adjust your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans? In the winter?
When you flip your ceiling fans to run clockwise at a low speed, it’ll pull the cooler air up. The warm air, which is hanging out by the ceiling, is then distributed down along the walls and to the floor.
3. Find Drafts and Leaks
Walk around your home and check for cool air sneaking in through doorways, windows, or electrical outlets. If there’s a draft coming in, close it.
You can caulk window gaps or use window insulation film, put weatherstripping along doors, or use insulated outlet covers.
4. Block Unused Rooms
If your kids are off at college, or your family doesn’t use the basement in the winter, it’s a wise idea to block those extra rooms off.
Close the vents, shut the door, and block the airflow to the room. There’s no sense in paying to heat an empty room! If you do need to use that room just for an evening, grab a space heater instead!
5. Get a Good Space Heater
Speaking of a space heater… if you spend most of your time in one section of the home, turn the thermostat down a few notches and use a portable space heater instead. Particularly at night, when you’re cozied up under your thickest blankets, we recommend turning down the thermostat a bit. Here are our tips for choosing a space heater.
6. Use LED Holiday Lights
The sparkling holiday lights certainly bring extra warmth and shine to the cold season. But keeping them on for weeks at a time adds to your energy bill.
Be sure to purchase LED lights this year, as they use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs. (And, by the way, if you’re not using LED lights throughout your entire home, now’s a great time to switch!)
7. Get a Smart Thermostat
While it may cost a little more than a typical thermostat, a smart thermostat will save you money in the long run.
How do they work? A smart thermostat connects to the internet, letting you control it through your smartphone. Not only do they set schedules, but many also have learning algorithms to help you set the most efficient schedules. Because they learn your behaviors and preferences, they help you set schedules that keep the temperature as low as possible for as long as possible.
Plus, many of them work alongside Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, allowing you to control the thermostat with your voice. Cool!
8. Wear Socks and Sweaters
It may sound obvious, but don’t run around barefoot in your home during the winter. Because the human body uses extremities (hands and feet) to regulate core temperature, it only makes sense that your entire body will feel cold when your feet are chilly.
Dress for the weather this winter — including indoors. It may be hard to balance your comfort with your heating budget, but little things like wearing appropriate clothing can really make a difference!
Now that you’ve saved a few dollars on your heating bill, be sure to take advantage of all that South Dakota winter has to offer! Take the family ice skating, celebrate at the Parade of Lights, and throw a few snowballs. Then, return home to a warm and cozy house!