Winter: the seemingly infinite period during which many of us in Chicagoland question why we haven’t moved somewhere with a less punishing climate. Making our homes comfortable to live in during winter can be difficult at times -- not to mention expensive! It can be hard to strike the right balance between being warm and paying a fortune to heat our homes. Winter isn’t over yet, and fortunately, there are some ways to improve this situation. It is possible to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home this winter without breaking the bank. Here are a handful of tips from the professionals.
Program Your Thermostat
This is an easy change that makes regulating your home’s temperature convenient and easy. Having a programmable thermostat allows you to easily set up a heating routine for your home. For example, if everyone in your family is at work or school during weekdays, there’s no sense in pumping heat throughout your home during this large chunk of time. We also recommend turning down your heat while your family sleeps. Science has shown that people generally sleep better in a cooler environment, typically in the range of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Curtains Are Your Friend
Even on the chilliest of days, the sun is still a source of heat. In the parts of your home that receive the most sunlight, let the light in! This is a great way to increase the temperature in your home without spending a penny. Conversely, when the sun goes down, you’ll want to close the curtains. Without the sun’s heat coming in, having the curtains open will instead make your home colder. By closing the curtains, you keep out some of this cold.
Don’t Forget Insulation!
If your home lacks sufficient insulation, you’re likely wasting a lot of money on your heating bill. To save the most money in the long run, you’ll want to make sure to fully insulate as much of your home as you can. For example, attic doors are notorious for allowing heat to escape. Putting in some insulation here should increase your home’s energy efficiency. You’ll also want to make sure the ductwork running through certain areas of your house (for example, your basement and crawlspace) is insulated to prevent heat from seeping out to where it’s not needed.
Don’t Overdo It With Heat
People sometimes overestimate the amount of heat they will need in their home to feel warm. We recommend experimenting with different temperatures to find out what works best for you -- and your wallet. While totally cranking the heat will make your house very toasty, you might find that you still feel comfortable after turning down the thermostat a few notches. The savings from using your heat in moderation can be impressive. One commonly stated figure is that for each degree you turn down your thermostat, your heating bill drops by 3%. Some regions experience even greater savings. Factor in turning your heat way down when you’re away from home, and you’re saving a pretty penny!
If you’re concerned about keeping the heat in and the cold out of your home, drafts can be very problematic. All throughout your home, there may be little cracks and nooks through which cold air is sneaking in. These same points serve as escape hatches for the heat you want to stay in your home. Identify these weak points, such as the gaps between doors and side jambs, and use weatherstripping to help keep the cold out! You may also want to install draft stoppers under exterior doors or even interior doors of rooms you’d like to insulate from colder areas of your home.
For the easiest and cheapest way to stay warm, simply apply layers. Are you feeling chilly while watching a movie in your living room? Though your first instinct might be to turn up the thermostat, why not try putting on a sweater or covering up with a heavy blanket (or both)? These are effective ways to warm yourself that don’t require spending any additional money on heating costs.
For any heating needs this winter, Stephens Plumbing has you covered! Give us a call at (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online, and you’ll be feeling warm again in no time!