The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and heating costs are getting higher. Thankfully there are things you can do to keep warm this winter without breaking the bank.
- Caulk or weatherstrip windows and doors to prevent outdoor air from getting in.
- Lower your home’s temperature overnight. A programmable thermostat can help you remember.
- Use insulating plastic on your windows. The savings in annual energy costs can amount to more than 10% of your yearly heating bill.
- Place foam gaskets behind light switch plate covers and electrical outlet covers. They are inexpensive, available at hardware stores, and easy to install.
- Dress warmer, even when you’re inside. A pair of snug socks, a cozy sweatshirt, and a winter hat can make a big difference.
- Use blankets. Much like dressing in warmer clothes, a warm blanket or throw can really keep you feeling toasty on a chilly day.
- Open curtains/drapes to allow sunlight in when the sun is up and close them to keep heat in overnight.
- Close doors and vents in unused rooms. This will prevent you from paying to heat uninhabited space.
- Radiators and heaters: Make sure these are not blocked by furniture, curtains or other items. Make sure warm-air registers, heaters and radiators are clean.
- Make sure your heating/cooling system is in good working order. Make sure all vents and registers are cleaned and free of blockage.
Older adults on a fixed income who are having trouble paying their utility bills, replacing a furnace or making energy improvements to their home can get financial help through the government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): http://www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov/.
Talk about these energy saving strategies, and other financial topics, with Fond du Lac County’s financial educator, Amy Mangan-Fischer (email@example.com).
by Nancy Vance, Human Development & Relationships Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension Clark County