Winter is Coming and It’s Expensive

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There is something to be said of the Starks. Love them or hate them, you must admit that their house words are true, because seasonality will always be a thing. Winter is coming, and it feels like an absurdly expensive season. Heating bills go up, and the house still feels like the inside of a glacier. Maybe that’s a bit severe, but probably only a little bit. There are plenty of reasons that might be the case, and today we are going to talk about how to keep your house nice and toasty through the winter.

FIND YOUR DRAFTS

Every house has a drafty spot. If it didn’t when you moved in, I assure you that there is one now. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just what happens. Not sure how to find them? One very good solution is to use a lit candle. Hold the candle up to all the doors and windows, and the flame should jump to where ever cold air is seeping in. Once you identify the drafty areas, install some weather stripping, you can pick some up at Home Depot, and it is cheap.

GRIN AND BEAR IT

This is my least favorite option because this was my mom’s strategy growing up. The house was always too cold – and I am including the summer in that. The only solution was to wear a lot more layers than would normally have been necessary. The trick here is to be sure to pull you winter wear out from storage early on. If you don’t store your winter clothes, you may want to start to open your closet up to things you’ll using during the warmer months. Everyone loves outfit variety.

CLOSE THE FLUE

I had no idea what a flue was until I moved to my current apartment, but it’s the access to the chimney for the smoke/heat. Odds are if you have ever used your fireplace and your house didn’t immediately fill with smoke, your flue was open. During the summer you can get away with forgetting that its open, in the winter you can’t. We are trying to trap the heat and giving it an easy out isn’t good strategy. Closing the flue is easy and might have already been done. Never hurts to be sure. Just also be sure to open it if you use your fireplace and close it when you’re done.

REPLACE FURNACE FILTERS

You should do this every month, but odds are you haven’t done it. Dirty filters reduce furnace efficiency. Low furnace efficiency means it must work harder for the same heating. It also means that your heating bills will go up; it also means that you’ll have to buy a new furnace sooner. You think your bills are high, wait until you have to buy and install a new furnace because you never checked the filters.  Stuff isn’t cheap, and it only gets more expensive in winter.

INSULATE THE WATER HEATER

Heat likes to leave, that’s the general theme that I’m working with here. There are a variety of water heaters that you shouldn’t insulate: R-16 or better and tankless heaters do not require insulating. Otherwise I would recommend getting an old blanket, or better actual insulation, and wrapping the heater. Odds are you can contact your utility company for instructions or click here. Just be sure not to cover the burner access and you’ll see the difference.

SET FANS TO WINTER

I’m going to be honest with you, I just learned that this was a thing. Ceiling fans have two directions that they spin, clockwise and counterclockwise. Turns out, when you have the fan blades spin clockwise, they pull up cold air rather than push it down. It creates a vortex, forcing the hot air down where it can be more easily enjoyed. Some fans have remotes, so you can just press a button and change the direction of the blades. Most have a switch on the body of the fan that you need to flip. In either case, be sure to keep the speed on the low side.

If you need other winter weather ideas, or aren’t sure when you should pull your clothes out of storage, click here. If you have winter weather ideas or strategies that I didn’t mention or haven’t thought of, leave them below.