It’s October, and as the sun sets earlier every night, you’re probably feeling a bit of the old familiar anxiety creeping up on you. We here in Minnesota have a sort of local motto you may have heard: winter is coming. Even if you’re one of those weirdos who looks forward to winter, because of beautiful snow or whatever, we’re willing to bet you aren’t looking forward to paying your winter heating bill. Lucky for you, Blue Ox’s neverending war against the relentless Minnesota winter has taught us a thing or two about keeping a heating bill manageable. There are quite a few simple things you can do to improve heating efficiency in your home and lower your bills this winter. Consider every dollar saved a finger in Old Man Winter’s eye!
Lock doors and windows
It seems strange, but locks aren’t just useful for keeping out dastardly intruders and door-to-door salesmen; they can also help keep out the cold. When doors and windows are locked, they’re fastened more tightly against their winterstripping, which means they seal heat in better than they do when unlocked.
One important note: make sure you do this before accursed winter begins in earnest. If your windows freeze in place before you get a chance to lock them, it’ll be a pain to try to force the lock. You could also wind up damaging the locking mechanism, what with your Hulk-like strength and frustration. Why, we here at Blue Ox locked our windows weeks ago!…
Cover patio doors and windows with plastic
Remember your first apartment? How it was such a dump that you swear you could feel the breeze through the walls? You probably used plastic shrink wrap to seal those windows, just to try to negotiate those blasts of cold air down to an uncomfortable draft. Well, the plastic shrink wrap solution may seem low-fi to you now that you’re a contender, but the principle is still effective.
Stretch lengths of plastic shrink wrap over your windows and stick them to the window frame with double stick, scotch, or packing tape. Then, use a blowdryer on the plastic to shrink it, eliminating ugly wrinkles and more importantly forming a seal between your home and the cold outdoors.
You might be thinking this sounds like a Han-stuffing-Luke-in-a-Tauntaun situation: it keeps you warm, but it’s not very pleasant. If you do it right, however, the plastic will look smooth and you’ll hardly notice it. If you remember it looking ugly in your first apartment, remember that you’re way more competent now than you were then. Sealing your windows with plastic is cheap, and it can really help out your heating bill.
Open Curtains During The Day and Close them at Night
You may feel like the sun has finally abandoned you during the winter, but apparently it’s still a pretty reliable source of heat. If you keep your curtains open during the day, the sun coming in through the windows will naturally heat up your house a few degrees, particularly in rooms with good sunlight exposure.
Once the sun sets, however, consider closing your curtains or blinds until tomorrow. Curtains and blinds can form yet another barrier between you and the outside, which will help reduce drafts from your windows and helps keep your home home. Another side effect of closing your blinds during winter nights is you won’t have to look at the raging wasteland outside your window, which is a plus.
Use Your Ceiling Fan (Seriously!)
Did you know that most ceiling fans have a switch that reverses the direction they spin? Usually, ceiling fans spin counterclockwise, which pushes cool air down into the room. However, if you reverse the direction your fan is rotating, your ceiling fan can pull cool air up. This updraft will, in turn, gently push warm air back down into your room, keeping the warm air where you want it and keeping your rooms a little toastier for no extra heating cost. This might not sound like it makes that big a difference, but moving that warm air around could get you up to a 15% savings on your heating bill!
Keep in mind that you should only ever have your ceiling fan on low during the winter–any faster and the cool air you’re pulling to the ceiling will be blown back down. You should also probably only try this when you’re using the room with the fan, unless you want to jack up your electric bill by about as much as you’re cutting your heating bill. But, you know, if that’s what you’re into, go for it. Blue Ox isn’t about judging.
Replace Your Thermostat
Digital, programmable thermostats automatically measure and adjust the temperature of your home if it doesn’t match up with exactly what you want it to be. You can also program your thermostat to turn down the heat automatically when you’re out of your house or sleeping, which significantly cuts down on heating costs, especially during the winter.
The thermostat does this all automatically, according to your programming, so it’s easy and stress-free. If you program your thermostat to start pumping up the heat a half hour or so before you get home from work, for instance, your house will be toasty warm when you arrive, but you didn’t pay to heat it all day. Similarly, if you turn down the heat while you’re sleeping, you’ll probably feel cozier under your covers, and you’ll save, too. Blue Ox installs digital thermostats quickly and painlessly, and we would consider it an honor to help you put one over on our arch nemesis, Winter.
Trust us, we understand how rough winter can be, which is why we want to help you be as prepared for it as possible. If you ever need your furnace repaired or replaced, Blue Ox will have it done for you within 24 hours, guaranteed. Contact us today for any of your winter preparation needs. We’ll get through this together!