Mother Nature has been furious lately. It’s been cold, blustery, snowy and frightful all around the country. Even southern states canceled school because of a quarter inch of the white stuff!
The downside (aside from the obvious) is that it’s giving all global-warming/climate change naysayers fuel and ammo for saying that “it” doesn’t exist. I will leave that portion of the conversation out of this post and it will have to suffice to say that climate change creates the EXTREMES!… whether it be sweltering or freezing, blizzards or severe drought… THAT is the effect it creates.
Anyhow, it’s also fairly likely that furnaces are being cranked up all around the country as well. That in turn means extra energy consumption which snowballs into a lot of extra pollution too.
So, keep these tips in mind for keeping warm… while staying green:
- Actually USE storm windows – make the time to install that extra layer of glass and it’s like you have triple panes. It can increase energy efficiency by up to 45%!
- Adjust the thermostat – just one degree lower in the winter can save 3% on your usage. That adds up!
- Arrange furniture away from heating ducts and exterior walls – it allows for better circulation of heat.
- Check out tax credits to help fund needed improvements. See what’s available here.
- Close the damper on your fireplace – leaving it open is equivalent to leaving a 48 inch window wide open in your home all winter long! This can amount to hundreds of dollars in heat loss in a season. Also consider glass doors on your fireplace as opposed to screens.
- Cover floors – hardwood and ceramic look fantastic but they actually cool a room. Add area rugs, even if only temporarily.
- Do the “feel test” – feel around windows and doors. If you feel the cold coming in, the heat is also going out. Buy some weather stripping and put a rolled towel at the bottom of drafty doors.
- Give your furnace a “check-up” – just like anything else, they sometimes need a little fine-tuning to run most efficiently.
- Give ventilation fans some time off – a kitchen or bathroom vent fan can expel enough warm air to fill a whole house in only ONE hour!
- Heat only the rooms you use – shut the door, close and seal the vent and stop heating vacant rooms.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate – if you can afford one improvement, add insulation. The heat that escapes due to lacking or improperly installed insulation is outrageous! (This one qualifies for tax credits too!)
- Open blinds and curtains in the daytime and close them at night – the sunlight can help warm our home and covering windows in the evening can help insulate them.
- Properly seal ducts – statistics say that up to 30% of heat can be lost through improperly sealed duct work!
- Replace your air filter and clean vents and ducts – too much build-up prevents the heat from even reaching your rooms.
- Reverse ceiling fans – heat rises, so run them on low in reverse and bring the warm air that rises back down to where it’s needed.
- Turn down the thermostat when you’re away from home for an extended period or during overnight hours – if you have a programmable thermostat, put it to work.
So “fight the freezies” and “battle the brrrr”, but just make sure to “check the checklist” to keep it green. And if all else fails to keep you toasty enough, grab your favorite sweater and snuggle up! (A bottle of nice organic wine does wonders too!)