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How to Lower Your Heating Bill this Winter and still Keep Warm
In spite of the Global Warming the Farmer's Almanac is predicting another brutal winter. As if last winter wasn't bad enough it would seem that the next one is due to be even worse. We are all aware of rising utitlity costs so how can you stay warm without breaking the bank this winter? Here are some suggestions for doing just that.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE!
The most efficient thing you can do to keep your heating bill down in the winter is to prevent the heat from leaving your home in the first place.
Fix your Fireplace
The site of a wood-burning fireplace brings warmth to my heart. I mean who doesn't like the crackling of the wood, the hickory smell permeating the room or the warm glow of a wood-burning fireplace as it casts romantic shadows on the walls. As much as I love wood-burning fireplaces they actually draw more warmth out of your home than they add to it! In order to actually have a fire in your home you have to open the damper. The damper serves as an open door only worse, it actually sucks out the warm air from the inside out! The area directly in front of the fireplace will be warm and cozy while the rest of the house will freeze! If you are determined to keep your fireplace you could add an iron or steel closed metal box into your fireplace. An iron or steel closed box fireplace is very efficient, however they can be expensive. A more inexpensive fix would be to install tempered glass doors and a heat air exchange that redirects warm air back into the room using a fan. If you do not use your fireplace seal up the flue.
As much as I love fireplaces it would be much better economically to replace your open fire place with a wood-stove. Not only would you be removing that open door called a damper that is sucking all the warm air out of your home and replacing it with cold air but you could also keep a kettle on the woodstove to replace the lost humidity in the air. You can even cook on some wood stoves saving you even more money and lowering your heating bill even further! Fortunately, wood stoves are cute too!
Insulate your Home
Insulating your attic is the easiest and most cost effective way to cut your heating bill. It's easy to reach your attic so most people can make a run to the nearest hardware store or Home Depot, buy some insulation and throw it in there.
Insulating your walls can be a little trickier and may require a professional. However most houses already have some form of insulation in their walls so it might not be worth the expense to upgrade in order to squeeze out any inefficiencies caused by older less efficient insulation. In days of old they insulated the walls by hanging heavy tapestries on them, of course they were castle walls but hey if it worked for castle dwellers it will work for you, I'm not sure if you want to go to those levels though!
Insulating your doors and windows is much easier and less expensive. According to the Edison Electric Institute, drafty doors and windows allow for 15 to 30 percent of a home's total heating cost. Simply weather stripping and caulking your windows and doors will cut down on your heating costs and some utility companies will actually come out and do it for you if you are low income. Call them and see if you qualify, it's free! After you insulate your windows make sure to put up heavy drapes during the winter months besides keeping the cold weather out it will be a nice change of decor from summer to winter. Use warm colors, as cool colors like white and light blue tend to make you feel colder while warm colors like red or dark green have a cozy effect.
PRODUCTS THAT KEEP YOU WARM WITHOUT TURNING UP THE HEAT
Long Johns are your friends!
There is nothing like long johns to keep you warm in the winter. I know some people who wear two pair at a time and it keeps them warm and toasty while everyone else is freezing. Buy at least 2 pair of good long johns (so you have one when the other needs laundering) and you wont be freezing your back end off when the thermometer drops to those unheard of levels.
If you have hard wood floors consider getting a sheepskin rug. They are wonderful to walk on and will help keep those cold hard wood floors a little warmer. And, even if you don't have hard wood floors they are pretty nice even on carpet.
I have a faux down duvet and it's wonderful!
Flannel Sheets and Duvets
I don't know about you but I could stay in my nice warm bed all winter long under my flannel sheets and/or Duvet. I'm like a bear that is hibernating. Seriously, snuggling under warm sheets and duvets when it's cold and snowy out is one of the most wonderful feelings ever. If you don't have them get some. There is no need for electric blankets or keeping the heat on at night if you have warm bedding. In fact, they say (whoever they are) that it's better for you to sleep in a cold room than to have the heat turned on at night.
Finally, I'm not going to mention..well maybe I will, but only to mention that I'm not mentioning the obvious accouterments like woolen socks, caps, layered clothing, scarves and even finger-less gloves. Once I lived in an old manor house in Great Britain in the winter; there was NO HEAT except the coal stove in the kitchen and the occasional fire in the many fireplaces that watched over the centuries old home. It was there I learned why finger-less gloves were invented! We also used hot water bottles to warm our feet before climbing into a bed with so many blankets you could hardly turn around! All those things sure came in handy as it was cold enough INSIDE to see your breath!
If you do the things I've mentioned your heating bill will surely lower to a manageable amount when the cold wind blows this winter. But, don't wait until then, take care of it now before the weather takes a turn for the worse.
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