There’s nothing like a warm and toasty home when the temperature outside is below zero. A few more months and it’s that most wonderful time of the year again as the song goes. With it come the twinkling lights, festive decorations, and of course freezing weather.
Many of us have a love-hate relationship for winter, extended perhaps to late autumn. We love it for the holiday cheer and the cool winter fashion that lets us hide our unsightly bulges. But it’s not particularly jolly to do anything in temperatures similar to your freezer.
The counter-attack is to get our sanctuaries, our homes, as warm as possible. Unfortunately, the consequence of this is we also drive up our electric bills. We list here a few things that can be done for the efficient use of energy at home.
The good old bed warmer
Back in the days when the light was from candles and torches instead of the incandescent bulb, they had also been battling with the cold. Without electric heaters, they made do with what was available to them. They had metal pans filled with warm coals.
This isn’t a bad tradition to keep. Instead of having your heater humming throughout the day, you can use bedpans to keep your sheets warm to slide into at night.
Use an efficient water heater
At this time of the year, no one is too keen to have cold showers for health benefits. It’s even an accomplishment already to shower and bathe regularly. To keep this activity enjoyable, we want the exact temperature for our bathwater. But it’s annoying how the water sometimes comes out still freezing or at times hot enough to scald us. Check if your system is functioning properly and have it fixed. If it’s old, install a new water heater.
Maintenance services for the HVAC
While at it, have your entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system checked and fixed for efficiency. It is better to address some problems early on to prevent damage to the entire system. If you feel that your room is too cold or too hot for a particular temperature setting, have it checked immediately. Clogged tubes and filters could also make your system overwork and expend more energy.
This is the best that technology could give us now. When before our ancients had to manually decide whether to add or remove a log before they sleep at night, you only need a programmable thermostat in your HVAC system that would automatically adjust the temperatures using preset schedules. You can set it so that it starts your heating system a few minutes before you walk in through your door so that you don’t have to keep it warm throughout the day you are not there.
Keep the old wood stove
If you still have this quaint fixture in your home, you could continue to use it at times. People would prefer to be rid of old systems when they put in modern replacements. But the manual systems from long ago could save you a lot on electricity.
You’d think about the environmental impact of having a wood stove. Surprisingly, wood is considered renewable energy, and the state of Vermont even promotes its use. Wood heater doesn’t produce as much grimy soot as fuel oil heater either.
Limit HVAC coverage
It may sound silly since you’d want your entire home toasty. But really, how often do you use all the rooms in your home? If you don’t need to have your entire home heated most of the time, consider buying separate units for the rooms. If, for example, you usually just come in from work, take a shower then proceed to your bed, you would only need to constantly use a small unit for your bedroom. Plan according to your needs.
Other electrical equipment
If you’re projecting to consume more energy for heating, try to lower down your usage of your other appliances. Don’t forget to turn off the lights in rooms not in use. You might want to install sensors if you keep forgetting. Ask the women in the house to use blow dryers, curlers, and hair irons less. Their hair is just going to be squashed in their winter caps anyway. Unplug your appliances when not in use. Although it’s not much, it still uses up electricity even when it’s not turned out.
It’s so nice to imagine our nights wrapped in our quilts comfortably wriggling our toes in our warm room. It’s nicer to experience it without having to worry about the bills that would come afterward.