Whether you have electric heat, oil, or use wood, there are things you can do to stay warm AND lower your heat bill.
Winter is coming. No really. Luckily, unlike in Game of Thrones, Winter only comes once a year.
Living in an off-grid homestead, you begin looking at your resources in a different way.
Wood can heat your house, but one log of wood doesn’t just represent 15 minutes of heat, it represents years for the tree to grow, time and your labor to cut the tree down and cut it up, haul it to your house and load it into the fireplace.
Even on electric, your electric bill keeps you warm, but each month you’re trading hours of your time to earn the money to pay for that heat.
Reducing the amount of heat you need through the methods below will help you save money and in the long run, save you time as well.
How to Stay Warm and Save Money
1. Program Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, take advantage of it!
Play around with the temperatures that feel right to your family. In my household, we keep it around 65 during the day, and let it drop to 60 at night.
If we plan to be away for the weekend, we’ll keep it around 55.
This ensures our houseplants don’t get shocked, but saves us from heating the house when we’re not in it.
2. Let Sunlight in During the Day
Every morning, open up all of your curtains to allow sunlight to come in and warm up your rooms naturally.
3. Keep Curtains Closed at Night
In the same vein as above, close all of your curtains at night.
If you have extra thick curtains for the winter (see the next tip), this adds a layer of insulation to ensure you’re not losing heat through the glass in your windows.
4. Buy Thicker Curtains
Before houses had electricity, families would have separate curtains for summer and for winter.
Winter curtains would have been thicker, to keep cold wind out and to keep the warmth of a fireplace inside.
5. Keep an Eye on Your Fireplace
Wood-burning fireplaces are lovely. Nothing is cozier on a cold winter night than snuggling up next to a roaring fire.
However, there’s some debate on their usefulness. Before electricity, a wood burning fireplace was your only option to heat your home and for cooking.
The debate is founded on the science of thermodynamics.
While the fire makes the area directly in front of the fireplace cozy, the heat traveling up your chimney, sucks in cold air from around the rest of your house.
One way to mitigate this effect is to use a glass front for your fireplace. The glass will still radiate the heat, while preventing the draft of cold air up the chimney.
In addition to a glass front, ensure that your flue is closed whenever the fireplace is not in use.
6. Check That Your HVAC Vents Are Open
During the Winter, make sure all of the floor vents for your heating system are wide open and unobstructed by curtains or furniture.
This will ensure the heat that your system is producing is being used and appreciated.
7. Seal Any Leaks To Stay Warm
An easy way to identify any leaks you may have in your house is with a candle.
Preferably, on a windy day, turn off your AC and heat system, or anything that could throw off your results, and walk around your house with a candle.
Slowly trace the outline of your windows and doors and see if the flame flickers at all.
This will tell you where you have a leak. Caulking is cheap and easy to do yourself. This Energy Star guide will help.
8. Keep Certain Rooms Warm
If you know you’re going to be in one room for most of the day, keep the heat in the rest of your house relatively cool, and use a space heater, with the door closed, in the room you want to be warm.
This way you ensure you’re heating the areas you’ll use, instead of the entire house.
9. Add a Carpet
If you have a bare hardwood or tile floor, add a throw rug or large carpet.
This insulates the floor as well as provides a warmer surface for you to walk on.
10. Keep The Person Warm, Not the House
What we’re actually looking for when it comes to heating in the Winter is for us to be warm, not the house!
Wear socks, sweatshirts, and hats to keep your own body warm. Get up and move around.
Eat and drink lots of warm soups, teas and meals. Snuggle under some blankets with loved ones.
As if you needed an excuse!
Use your oven more, and when you’re done, leave the door of your oven cracked open to allow the heat to radiate into the room.
For the best, fool-proof recipe for bread, check out my recipe here.