Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Wind is Chilly!

It's cooling off outside, it's hoodie and boots weather as my friend says.  There seems to be a crisp breeze most days now.  It won't be long until Winter is here bringing with it that "S" word.  Snow.  One would think that growing up in Pennsylvania would make a person like snow.  I'm not one of those persons!  

Something that I dislike more than snow and coldness is paying the gas company.  My husband gives me a hard time about how much I detest paying that bill every month.  Don't ask, it's a long story...LOL.

Whether you have a gas bill or you heat with electric, now is the time check out your house to see where you could save money on those bills.  Some very little things could help to save bundles over the winter.  And with natural gas prices predicted to go up 13% and electricity predicted to go up, I think they said 6% (don't quote me on that one) every little thing that you can do to save on those bills adds up.  They can add up a lot.

One thing that can help save bunches is a programmable thermostat.  You can get them at your local home improvement store, modest ones are about $50.  It will MORE than pay for itself rather quickly.  What we do is since we live in a two story house (and heat rises) we set ours to turn down at night to about 62.  It is set to turn down to about 58 during the day, right after we all leave.  It comes back up about a half an hour before we get home.  I'm home a lot of those days but I am rather warm natured so I just get a sweater.  We have a different set of settings for the weekend since we're home more.  We save more than $25 per month over what we paid before changing the thermostat to a programmable one.

Something else that is pretty easy to do, especially with the windy days is to check for air leaks around windows and doors.  On a windy day you can easily hold your hand around windows and doors and feel a draft coming in.  Remember, if you feel a draft coming in now, that will be your heat going out in winter! Caulking is pretty easy.  Caulk is under $10 for a couple of tubes of it and the caulk gun is well under $10 here.  If you're unsure of the type of caulk you need, just ask at the home improvement store.  I would suggest you practice on a piece of cardboard to get the feel of how the caulk gun works.  It's pretty easy when you get the hang of it.

You should also change the furnace filter every month.  How many of you just went "The furnace has a filter?"  I did too before I married someone who is HVAC/R certified...LOL.  Anyway, the furnace will work more efficiently if it has a new filter every month.  On a side note, it's a good idea to have your furnace cleaned and serviced every year to keep it working at it's optimum ability.

Check for register vents too.  I had two that were getting the curtains fluttering until the curtains ended up over them and the heat was going behind the curtain.  A deflector is a couple of dollars and it keeps the curtain behind it.  Another little trick you can do is to sew big washers one the backside of the curtain on the hemmed part.  The weight will hold the curtain down so it doesn't flutter.  And by sewing it on the backside of the hem, you won't see the stitching.

Don't forget to check the bottoms of doors too.  You can buy one of those door snakes to put against the door or they make these things now that slide on the bottom of the door so you don't have to remember to put the snake in place.

Also, always remember that when it is sunny outside, regardless of whether or not it is cold, open the windows.  Let the sun shine in.  It not only lets some heat in from the sun but it just makes you feel better after days of dreary winter weather!  Just make sure you close them at night to help hold the warm in!

Remember too that some things that you can do to help insulate your home against the winter cold are tax deductible.  Check out the Government's Energy Star website for more information here.  

You can spend a couple of hours on a weekend to give the house a once over.  Check for any way that you can cut down on the amount of money that you give to the gas (or electric) company.  It's better in your pocket than it is in theirs, right?

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