There are many free and cheap ways to prepare your home for the winter. One of the easiest ways is to set your thermostat to a temperature that you are less than used to. For instance we keep our house right about 68 degrees. In the winter, we also dress slightly warmer in sweatshirts if needed.
During the day I keep the curtains open to allow the sun to come in and heat the house naturally. You shouldn’t drop the furnace too low because this will actually cost you more money in the long run. It’s better to keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature than to fluctuate it on a regular basis, it will take more energy to return your home back to an acceptable level of comfort if you drop it too low.
If it’s an option replace your windows if you have bad windows. This will allow huge amounts of warm air to escape costing you hundreds of dollars per year in lost heating. If this is not an option use the plastic window coverings available at your local hardware store. These do take some patience to use, but if you can be patient you will notice a difference in the loss of heat in your home once installed.
Another cheap and easy fix you can implement is to buy weather stripping for your doors and windows. It is unbelievable how much heat we lose through the front door. Another plus to help keep the heat in is to add a storm door to the front entrance. This is by far more expensive than many of the other ideas but it will save you substantial money. The storm door actually seals the entrance so that heat does not escape from inside.
It is somewhat difficult to get a perfect seal on a door. The best way to increase your heat savings is to install a storm door. By installing a storm door this will simply reinforce the prevention of heat loss, by creating a solid seal between the outside elements and your home. The last thing to add to your door if you don’t already have one is a door sweep at the bottom. These are available in many sizes and décor.
One of the ways you may not think about is to shorten your shower time, as your heating bill will thank you. It seems like the ideal time to take a longer shower in the cold of winter, but keep in mind time is money, and more is less. While your at it, make sure you are washing your clothes in cold water!
When feasible use the fireplace if you have one. Unfortunately due to pollution there are numerous no burn days here in Colorado. However if you have the option you should use the fireplace when and if it’s available to use. For a temporary solution, use alternate sources of fuel to heat your home such as coal, wood, pellets, gas inserts, gel fuel and propane. Some of these options may be more expensive than others so find out what is the best choice for your home.
Make sure your furnace has a new filter every month. This is something that many of us neglect but it can save you money in the long run. In the rooms that you are not using, close the vents so the heat will go to the rooms that you are trying to heat. You should also set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
Keep extra blankets in your living room and bedrooms. This will also reduce the need to have the thermostat at a high temperature. If you prefer you can drop the furnace temperature lower while you are not home, however don’t drop it too low especially if you plan on being away from the house for an extended period. This is especially true if you live in a cold climate and the temperature drops below freezing, you will of course run the risk of freezing pipes which can be costly.