Finding Warmth in Winter #4: Hibernation at Home



decpic2.jpgThese snowmen hot chocolate (see picture) from BuzzFeed remind us that home isn’t only where the heart is; it’s where the hearth is! Don’t get us wrong; we love outdoor adventures when the sun’s blazing and the flowers blooming. But in winter gloom, staying put has its perks.

Cranking up the heat will guarantee a warm house, but it gets expensive quickly. Foregoing heat is not an option, either. And it’s inefficient to lower the heat drastically when you’re out – you’ll just expend energy ratcheting it up when you return. Here are ten ways to lower the thermostat and lower your bills:

  1. Look up -- check your roof for missing shingles, cracked shingles, and leaks! The typical asphalt shingle roof lasts around 25 years. If you can see sunlight from your attic, then cold air and precipitation can find their way into your home.
  2. Seal all cracks in your window frame. The Good Housekeeping Institute recommends shinning a flashlight or candle on the frame – with a partner outside. If they can see light, it’s time to caulk and seal!
  3. Reverse your ceiling fan’s motor to clockwise. This will create an updraft that pushes the rising warm air back down to where it benefits you.
  4. Splurge on blankets. Layering multiple blankets is key to keeping warm, and down comforters with high thread counts are known for their toasty-toes factor.
  5. Throw open the shades when the sun comes out; draw them shut at night. This will harness solar energy for a mild warming effect.
  6. Invest in blackout shades with a thermal lining to help save energy.
  7. Stop the chill from sneaking under doors and around outlets with doorstoppers and outlet insulators.
  8. Throw rugs everywhere! Wool feels cozier than floorboards on the feet, and offers insulation to boot (sorry, couldn’t resist.).
  9. Don’t heat rooms that you don’t use! If no one plans to occupy the guest room for a while, close the vents and door.
  10. Get a “smart” thermostat (like the Nest Learning Thermostat) for your home. You can program these devices to lower the temperature slightly when you’re not there, then adjust when you return. Eventually, the thermostat will learn your schedule and program itself.
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