22 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Winter Warmer: Staying Warm without Breaking the Energy Bank

It’s so tempting to bury yourself under a mountain of blankets in the winter and hibernate the cold weather away. However, we all have responsibilities to take care of that prevent us from snuggling up for weeks or months like bears do.

Depending on your part of the country, winter might be one of the seasons when you use the most energy, impeding your going green efforts that you’ve been trying to keep up year-round. Here are a few tips on how to stay warmer this winter, without keeping that energy-sucking furnace working at a toasty 80 degrees every day. These ideas can help you save money and avoid using too much energy.

Winter Warmer: Staying Warm without Breaking the Energy Bank

Your Clothes

Layer up! It’s enticing to stay in your pajamas all day, but you’ll be much warmer if you get dressed in several layers. Wear leggings or thermal underwear underneath your pants. Try a close-fitting shirt as your first upper body layer, then add another shirt or a heavy sweater. You’ll be ready to go to work or run your errands, and you can strip off layers if you get too warm!

Even if you don’t want to wear layers of thermal underwear, your feet are a major source of feeling cold, so bundle up your feet for an environmentally friendly way to warm up. Wear extra pairs of socks when you go outside, or combine them with slippers when you’re staying in. Invest in (or make your own) hand and foot warmers to make sure you stay extra toasty!

Your Food

Eating the right foods can help regulate your body temperature and keep you warmer throughout the day. Food high in healthy fats, like nuts, peanut butter, and fish, can actually help you stay warmer. Eating a bowl of hot soup or drinking hot beverages (such as tea, hot chocolate, and coffee) can warm you up while offering different health benefits, too.

Your House

  • Try using a space heater. If you’re spending most of your time in specific rooms, turn the thermostat down and use space heaters to heat just those rooms at a lower cost.
  • Start a cozy fire in your fireplace to save even more energy. (People did it for centuries. It really does work.)
  • If you’re in bed for the night, use an electric blanket to warm up. But check the safety instructions to make sure it’s not a fire safety hazard.
  • Insulate your home. Make sure no cold drafts are seeping in through the cracks in your house, such as under doors and around windows. Drafts can also escape through wall outlets and light switches, so make sure to insulate them with foam plate seals. It costs a bit of money, but it’ll pay off with energy bills in the long run.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. These thermostats can be set to automatically adjust themselves depending on the time of day. That way, when it’s warmer outside, you won’t be using unnecessary heat. You can even program it to be cooler while you’re at work and warmer when you’re home.
  • If you’re feeling crafty, try making your own solar heater out of soda cans. It will absorb heat from the sun and warm a good portion of your house – the more you make, the warmer your house will be.
  • Be prepared for bad weather ahead of time. Stock your pantry with non-perishables and water, make sure you have plenty of blankets, and flashlights. Also consider buying an emergency clock radio to install in your home and alert you when bad weather is on the way. That way, if a severe power outage is coming that threatens to freeze your power lines, you’ll have time to get out of town, thanks to the NOAA weatherband alerts.

These tips can help you stay warmer without keeping your wallet and your furnace working overtime!

How do you stay warm in the winter? Let us know in the comment section below!

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