Staying Warm This Winter

With heating costs running high, many of us need to do whatever we can to keep the heating bills low, yet still manage to stay comfortably warm throughout the winter. Having recently purchased an old, drafty home, I can comment on a few points where we are doing things a little differently this year over our first winter.

If you can, call your utility company and find out if you qualify for a budget plan. There are plans out there that will not change in price each month, regardless of how much gas or electricity you use. We were fortunate enough to get on a plan in October that will last until June of next year, at a fixed rate. While we will be paying a little more in April, May, and June, the savings we will realize over the colder months will more than make up for it.

Aside from changing your utility plans, there are measures to make your inefficient home more energy efficient by eliminating heat loss. Windows are a big culprit; if you have storm windows, remove the screens for the winter and install the glass inserts. A storm window is closer in efficiency to a double paned glass window, but only when the glass is installed and properly closed.

Apply clear or white tape around the windows if the frame does not tightly seal. You will most likely not open the windows anyway, and the clear or matched-color tape will blend in so it will not become an eyesore. This will reduce or even eliminate troublesome drafts.

To stamp out pesky door drafts, install weather-stripping. This is a self-adhesive foam-like tape that can compress around the door when closed to help seal up any drafts originating from unsealed areas around the door. Also remember to close the door behind you when it is cold out. This may sound like common sense, but if you leave the door open while taking the trash out or checking the mail, even though it is only for a few seconds, you still may lose a substantial amount of heat. The heat will need to be replaced by your furnace, which of course, costs money to run.

Another good idea related to doors would be the use of a sealing pillow. These are long, skinny, insulating pillows that are laid along the bottom of the door to prevent drafts from underneath. Using these whenever practical will be beneficial.

In the end, any measure that causes your house to retain heat will end up saving you money and keep you warm as well. Use common sense and be creative and you will come up with your own solutions in addition to the ones mentioned above, and you and your family will stay warm this winter, without spending a small fortune.

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