How do you keep a hot house during the shivery winter while trying to cut down on bills and still trying to be fair to Mother Earth? Here are some tips that I gathered from others such as Average Jane, Treehugger, and drips and drabs of knowledge that I somehow inherited:

  • For an easy starter, seal all leaks (a process known as “draftproofing”) in your house! To do this, you can use a tube of exterior silicone caulk or insulation strips on your windows, plumbing and wiring holes, doors and fireplace dampers. What has been recommended to me as an easy way to find the leaks is to light a stick of incense or a scented candle on a breezy day and make certain to close all the windows and doors. Then meander about your house and look for places where the incense smoke drifts, and voila! you have found your leak! For the space between your doors and the floor, Treehugger recommends that you instal a cheap door sweep on the bottom of the door.
  • A fantastic way to reduce heat loss by 25-50% is by installing storm windows on your existing windows. They achieve this success by creating an insulating dead-air space inside the window. Storm windows cost between $7.50 to $12.50 per square foot. Exterior storm windows are said to increase the temperature of the inside window by as much as 30°F on a cold day!
  • While becoming more heat-efficient through all this draft-proofing, don’t forget that you should ventilate your home every so often by opening the some windows a few minutes each day by cross-ventilating.
  • Use a fan to get an even-spread of heat. Being that cool air is heavier and sinks, the hot air will rise to the ceiling. A fan will help evenly mix that heat to ensure that your heater or radiator isn’t wasteful. A recommended fan is the heater fan, which sits atop woodstoves or gas room heaters and relies on a thermodynamic module to keep them running on heat alone- thus requiring no batteries.
  • Be reasonable when heating your home! It doesn’t need to be a Turkish steambath, dudes & dudettes. That doesn’t mean sacrifice your comfort, of course, but think about bundling in a blanket or sweater and drinking hot cocoa instead of keeping a sweltering temperature. Each degree Celsius saves ~10% on your energy use!
  • To retain your heat, keep your doors closed!
  • Did you know that most of the heat loss in a house occurs through and around your windows? To reduce this loss, draw in your drapes, but during the day, leave your north-facing windows uncovered in order to take advantage of the winter sun. Even try lining your drapes with layers consisting of a insulating material, a radiant barrier, and a moisture-resistant layer to prevent condensation.
  • A recommended type of shade are the honeycomb shades, which reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Hear cha-ching into your register?
  • And ickpoo to fireplaces! On average, fireplaces are only about 10% efficient. That means that 90% of their energy is lost through the chimney, along with loads of your home’s warm air and energy dollars! Sad, isn’t it? As the Dept. of Energy says, they “should not be considered heating devices.”
  • If you simply must have your beautiful little fire, though,lower your thermostat to 50°- 55°F so that your heat doesn’t continually get lost and replaced.
  • Another tip regarding fireplaces is to installing glass doors on the fireplace. If you close these doors when the fire is dying down and if you close the chimney damper when not using the fireplace you will prevent indoor heated air from escaping through the chimney. Treehugger recommends using  EcoBrics, which, is made of compressed sawdust. EcoBrics have the same energy value as brown coal equivalents, with one-third the water content and a fraction of the ash and sulfur emissions. *Some upgrades to consider are the EcoFire Super-Grate, which increases burning efficiency, an outdoor air intake, which cuts down on heat loss from your home, or a high-efficiency fireplace insert, offering stricter air control.
  • Water heating is the third largest energy expense in an American home, typically accounting for about 13% of your utility bill! Let’s cut your water heating bill 4 ways: 1) use less hot water, 2) turn down the thermostat on your water heater, 3) insulate your water heater, and/or 4) buy a new, more efficient water heater.
  • To use less water perhaps use aerating faucets, which enhance spray while minimizing water usage. An obvious one is to repair leaky faucets and take showers rather than baths. Also, turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth, and only turn it back on to rinse out your mouth.
  • Inexpensive blankets should be used a resource to insulate your heater. This technique has been shown to save you between 4-9% in heating costs! If you do this, remember not to cover your thermostat! Also, if you are insulating your hot-water storage tank, don’t cover the thermostat, top, bottom, or burner compartment.

I think that’s enough for now, green ones!

Stay Wild,

Gabby Wild