Even though it feels like 2017 just started last week, we are now well and truly into autumn. This means that if the cold hasn’t hit where you live yet, it will soon – especially if you live in the southern states.
And while a bit of cooler weather is a nice change after a long, hot summer, it can get a bit too chilly after a while, and receiving the energy bill for the winter quarter is often a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re on a budget.
Here are a few tips to help get you through the cold months, and hopefully keep your energy bills down.
It seems obvious, but stopping drafts coming in under your doors and warm air escaping the same way can do a lot to keep your house warm. Pipe insulation is a great way to make draft stoppers, and they can be cut to the perfect size for your door. Make sure you put them on all outer doors, not just the main one!
One frustrating thing in winter is when you’re already running late to get somewhere, and you rush out to your car to find your windscreen is iced over. Make sure you never throw warm or hot water on it, or it may crack the glass.
One thing you can do is make your own windscreen washer fluid which will get rid of ice. Mix together one cup of water, 1.5 litres of rubbing alcohol (which you can buy from an auto store), and a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent. You’ll be ready to hit the road, and it should last you all winter.
Again, this seems really obvious, but sometimes we can forget to open the curtains of really cold days. If there’s a bit of sun peeking through though, don’t waste it. Making the most of natural resources is the best way to keep your power bills down.
Just make sure you close them back up when the sun goes down.
It seems counter-intuitive, but the fact is, heat rises. Having your ceiling fan running on low and turning clockwise will help push the warm air back down.
After you’ve finished baking, leave your oven door open so the heat can warm up the room. This makes the use of energy you’ve already used, and a will make your house smell wonderful as a bonus.
Of course, make sure any pets or young children are not around if you do this as they could be injured.
Cut insoles out of thick woollen felt and insert them into your shoes. They will keep your feet so much warmer than shoes and socks alone!
This is easier said that done in open plan houses, but where possible you should close any rooms that aren’t being used. It’s easier and cheaper to keep one area heated than a whole house. If you have central heating, you can close off ducts in the rooms you’re not using.
It’s also an effective way to get the family in one area!
We all know about wearing singlets and layering tops and jumpers and jackets, but you can stay a lot warmer by wearing tights or leggings under your pants or jeans too.
If you have floorboards or tiles in your house, you will know coldness. Use rugs wherever possible during the winter months for extra warmth.
They’re an oldie, but a goodie. Rather than wasting electricity and causing potential fire hazards with electric blankets, pop a couple of hot water bottles in your bed 10 minutes before you turn in for the night. Your bed will be toasty and warm, for not more electricity than boiling the kettle.