When winter winds start blowing, our energy costs threaten to skyrocket. Every little bit that we can conserve will help our pocketbooks and our environment.
Here are some steps to take that will lower your energy bill this winter.
Switch the direction of your ceiling fan... Hot air rises, and changing your fan direction to counter-clockwise will push the hot air down into the room. When summer rolls around, changing it back to clockwise will pull the hot air up and away from you.
Laundry....Save up your laundry to fill up the washer. Smaller loads go through the same number of steps as large ones. Yes, you might conserve a little water by using small loads, but washing smaller loads more often rather than large loads less often will cost you in the long run.Use cold water to wash your clothing when possible, and always use cold water for the rinse.
Close the doors.... Particularly closet doors. Closing the doors to all rooms and closets will keep the house warmer.
Take showers...Taking showers rather than baths not only conserves water, but conserves energy as well. A shower generally uses about 10 gallons of water, but a bath takes 20-25 gallons. The shorter the shower, the better - both for your energy costs and your health.
While you're in the bathroom, be sure and turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth.
Dishwashing...Let your dishes air-dry by turning off your dishwasher before the drying cycle starts. Partially opening the dishwasher door after you turn it off speeds up the drying process, and you might want to use a product such as Jet-Dry to minimize spotting.
Use a humidifier....You will be much more comfortable during the dry winter months and you get an added bonus - Because moist air holds heat, your home will be warmer and your furnace will have less work to do.
You might also consider using a de-humidifier in the summer because, well, moist air holds heat.
When you heat up the oven for a meal, leave the door open a little afterward so that the heat won't be wasted. Only do this if you don't have little kids or pets that might get burned.
Lower the thermostat when everyone is out of the house at work or school.
Also lower the thermostat when bedtime arrives - It's much easier to sleep when the house is cooler, and you can always put on another blanket.
Clean the filters....Furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced every month, and lint filters in clothes dryers should be cleaned after every use.
If you have a traditional fireplace, invest in a glass, fitted screen to keep out the cold. Be sure the damper is always closed tightly. You might also consider converting your wood-burning fireplace to gas. Fireplaces are notorious energy-wasters, but I love the smell of a fireplace in the winter and can't bear to convert it to gas.
Learn to crochet. Make your family some nice afghans to cuddle up in while watching television or playing video games, and turn the thermostat down.
There are plenty of other steps that can be taken to lower your heating bills in the winter. I didn't even touch winterizing your home in this article. If you can get into the habit of doing even a few of these, you will notice a difference in your bills this winter.