image source: flickr
Winter can be harsh here in Canada, but that doesn’t mean that you have extra money to pour into heating your home. True, you can always put aside extra and budget wisely, but why not cut the spending off at the source? There are several relatively low cost (or no cost) ways to improve your heating efficiency and cut usage. Here are a few of them:
Clean filters and make sure your furnace is working properly.
A clogged filter or ducts will often cost you as much money as turning up the heat — they make furnaces work harder to achieve the same result. Before you turn your system on, check to make sure that ducts and filters are clear and that everything is functioning normally.
Turn down the heat when you’re not at home.
Why pay for heating if you’re not even using it? When you are asleep, at work, on vacation, etc., remember to turn the thermostat down to save on your heating costs. If you’re likely to forget or simply want greater convenience, install a programmable thermostat.
If you want to keep the temperature a bit lower in general, get some extra blankets, thermal pajamas, thick socks (mountaineering socks work wonders here), etc., and bundle up. The amount that you will save on those few degrees can be significant.
Use a space heater
Space heaters use a lot less energy than your home system, and better yet, you can be selective about which rooms really need to be warmed up. Keep the general temperature lower and use these to supplement, as needed. However, don’t forget to be careful with space heaters. Turn them off before you go to bed or leave the room, check the wires periodically for fraying, keep them at least about a meter away from other objects, and check for a CSA (Canada Standards Association)label or similar for verification of safety standards.
Open the curtains, close the curtains
When the weather is bright, open the curtains in rooms that face the sun to allow some natural warmth into the home. When it gets dark, close the curtains tightly to retain the heat that you have.
Check your windows and doors
Nothing lets in a draft faster than a poorly sealed window or door frame. Rather than making your heating system fight to heat the home, replace the weather stripping on any windows or doors that need it.
Draft guards or stoppers
When your home’s doors have big gaps at the bottom that let in air, you can do one of two things: adjust the doors or invest in some draft guards. Adjusting the doors doesn’t take much work, but for those who don’t feel incredibly handy, there are always draft guards. You will have to move them out of the way when you go in and out, but they’re the easier alternative and, as an added bonus, they often come in cute designs (dogs, cats, etc.) or you can even make one yourself.
Cover Windows and Doors
Last, but not least, you can make doubly sure that your windows and doors (the ones you’re not planning to use over winter, anyway) aren’t letting in drafts by covering them with plastic film.
Erica Miller’s house is always so cold during the winter months. She decides to find some new ways to keep warm this year and how to do it at a low price.