Four Ways to Lower Your Winter Energy Costs Right Now

iStock_houseIf you do nothing, chances are that your winter energy costs will be significantly higher this year than they were last. Blame the extreme weather with more snow and ice than usual and the polar vortex with record-breaking low temperatures sustained for days. It is a mess, and we all just need to keep warm.

This kind of extreme weather may inspire your to make some permanent changes in your home to increase its energy efficiency, such as by upping your insulation or installing high-end thermal windows, but those improvements won’t help you right now.

What will? Read on for five ideas you can get started with today.

Use Draft Dodgers

Draft dodgers are puffy draft blockers usually made of fabric and stuffing. They have a snake shape and come in many different designs and even characters. You can purchase them cheaply from a discount store or make them yourself in just a few minutes using scrap fabric. Place draft dodgers at the bottom of all of your exterior doors to block any cold air that might come through. You should instantly notice a real difference just by doing this.

Close or Regulate Rooms

Are there any rooms in your home that can be closed off to retain heat? This is an especially good idea if you have zoned heat in your home. You can shut off the heat to unused rooms and eliminate the expense of keeping them warm.

Alternatively, keep the temperature low in lesser used zones during the day. For example, lower your heat to the upstairs rooms, and hang out downstairs until bedtime. Warm the upstairs a bit just before bed.

Another way to regulate rooms is to lower your overall heat, close the door to the room you are occupying at use a space heater. You will stay warm without having to heat the entire house. This works especially well for home offices or family rooms. Just make sure you use a modern, safe heater.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is often overlooked, but it can make a big difference in the amount of cold air that enters your home from outside. If you live in a seasonal or cold environment, you’ll want to take advantage of this product. In just a few moments, you can go around your home and close off any holes or cracks where valuable heat is seeping out.

For example, you may find an old hole from when the previous owners or tenants installed cable, another where the fireplace mantle meet the brick, and another around the dryer vent. The foam expands to fit the space, and it insulates well. Search your home for holes and then eliminate them.

Silicone Caulk

For windows, you can use a bead of silicone caulk around the places where the window meets the frame or wall. This will prevent any air from seeping in, and it only needs to be done once every few years. These little leaks may not seem like much, but they can add up and turn a perfectly good window into a drafty one that causes you to spend more money to heat your home.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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