Save on energy costs this winter

Winter is here, and that means increased heating costs for many. Reducing your energy consumption may be the answer to saving big bucks (and possibly the planet) this season. Here are 5 simple things you can do now.

1. Soak up the sun ☀️

Baby, it’s cold outside -- and INSIDE some homes! For the ultimate free heat, open the shades and let the sunshine into your home. In the morning, before heading out, remember to open the curtains and keep them open until the sun goes down. After sunset, close your window coverings, so the heat gets trapped inside.

2. Accent your home with warm accessories

Adding seasonal decor is a great way to give your humble abode a festive feeling, but these accessories can also serve a purpose when temperatures drop. Use plush rugs on wood and tile floors to insulate your home against the cold, and put out throw blankets so your family can quickly cover up when it gets chilly. In bedrooms, switch out cotton sheets for flannel or another heavy material that is better able to hold heat. Add plants strategically throughout your home, because they add moisture to the air; moist air feels warmer and retains heat better.

Quick tip: You can also encourage your family to wear an extra layer of clothing when they’re lounging around the house. A thick pair of socks and a hoodie are the two hottest fashion items during the coldest months of the year (at least, we think so).

3. Adjust the thermostat when you’re away 🌡

During winter, your thermostat should be adjusted depending on whether you’re home or away. You can keep your energy costs in check by lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees when you leave for work and turning it back up to your desired temperature when you get home. Try reducing the temperature at night as well when there is less traffic around the house -- and you’re covered up with a few blankets!

4. Only heat the rooms that you use

If you have additional rooms in your home that aren’t being used (i.e., a guest bedroom or storage room), you can close off those vents, so the heat isn’t wasted. Also, when you close vents, it increases airflow to other areas of the house you use more frequently, like your family room.

5. Use (or don’t use) fans to your advantage 💨

Exhaust fans -- like the ones used in your kitchen and bathroom -- can pull hot air right out of your home. During winter months, use exhaust fans sparingly, and be sure to shut them off as soon as you’re done. Also, you can use ceiling fans to your advantage. Put your ceiling fan on clockwise to gently push hot air (which naturally rises) back down. If you run your ceiling fan counterclockwise, it can suck the hot air up and out of the room, so be sure to run it correctly.