During cold winter months, many homeowners search for a balance between warmth and savings where heating is concerned. It’s tempting to crank up the thermostat a few extra degrees to make your home hot and cozy, especially when you’re being conservative with your settings. The problem is that it’s easy to forget to lower it back to energy-efficient settings. When you keep these higher temperatures for long periods of time, they can really add up on your energy bills; as much as 1% for each degree higher than your usual settings. Your heating system isn’t the only way to stay warm this winter- let’s take a look at some ways you can boost warmth without your thermostat.
First off, 68°F is the “magic number” for your thermostat; the U.S. Department of Energy recommends you set your thermostat at 68°F for times when your home is occupied and your family is awake. You can set your thermostat lower while you sleep, because you’re not likely to notice the difference during this time period. Turning your thermostat back 10°F to 15°F for periods of 8 hours or more, such as while you sleep or while you’re gone, can save 5% to 15% of your yearly heating costs.
Some people just don’t feel comfortable when the thermostat is much lower. There are many ways you can keep your body warm without adjusting the thermostat.
Dress in layers. This is practical advice you may often hear for braving the winter temperatures outdoors, but put this principle to use inside, too. If you find yourself feeling too cold inside, try putting on a sweater or long sleeves to warm you upper body. Cover bare feet with socks and put on your cozy slippers while you’re at home. Try layering your clothing before resorting to adding a few degrees on the thermostat; that sweater could make the difference in your energy bills this winter.
Add extra blankets. As we said before, while you sleep is the perfect time to lower your thermostat and lower your energy bills. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can schedule the temperature to increase about 15 minutes before your alarm clock goes off, so you’ll likely never notice the temperature difference. If you’re worried about getting too cold while you sleep, double up on the blankets in bed- and by blankets, we mean the heavier ones. More layers will trap the heat your body produces and insulate you while you sleep so you stay warm.
Close the curtains. Your window treatments don’t only keep people from looking in; they can also keep cold air out. Heat is attracted to cold air, and as you’ve probably noticed, your window panes can get pretty cold in the winter. Your warm air is instantly cooled when it makes contact with the cold glass. Pull your curtains and close your blinds at night to create an extra layer between the warm air your heating system produces and your cold windows to prevent heat loss. Curtains and other window treatments can also help block drafts from cracks or other areas you forgot to seal last fall. In the daytime, you may choose to keep your curtains and blinds open so natural sunlight can warm the room, which can also help you feel warmer.
Turning down your thermostat this winter doesn’t have to mean turning down your comfort. Try these tips to stay warm while you’re conserving energy- you may find you don’t need to raise the temperature to be comfortable. Of course, if your heating system isn’t producing the same comfort as before, there could be an issue with your system that’s making you feel the need to turn up the heat. Before you resort to keeping the thermostat higher this winter, call T.A. Kaiser; our skilled technicians will inspect your system and correct any issues which are causing your discomfort. This step could make a difference on your heating bills this winter.