How to save on Energy Costs
Step 1: Bundle up. You don’t have to wear a Snuggie twenty-four hours a day, but do dress warmly (and in layers), even inside. Put on a wool sweater, warm pants, silk long johns if you’ve got them, and some toasty socks. If, in December, you’re wearing a T-shirt and shorts inside (and you don’t live in the South), then you’re paying way too much for your heating bill.
Step 2: Pipe down. Set your thermostat to as low a setting as is comfy when you’re home, and to 58 degrees when you’re away or sleeping. For every degree you crank it down in the day, you’ll save about 2 percent of your bill. Adding an extra blanket to your bed and sleeping in cooler temps can save you up to 7 percent.
Step 3: Use solar power. You don’t need any fancy panels to harness the power of the sun. Just throw open your curtains on sunny days and let the rays warm your home.
Step 4: Hunker down. If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room (or two or five) that you don’t use, close their doors to trap the warmth where you live. Why pay to heat the entire house, when you hang out only in three rooms?
Step 5: Break wind. If you feel a draft by a door or window, you’ve likely got some leaks. Seal the frames with caulk. And lay draft stoppers, usually cloth tubes filled with sand or beans, across the thresholds of your doors.
Step 6: Use your senses. During the chilly season, decorate with reds, golds, and oranges to trick your mind into feeling warm. Add lots of texture, too, by piling up chunky blankets and soft pillows, to make a perfect cuddling spot for you and your honey (and your dogs, if you’ve got them).
Step 7: Bake yourself a pie. If the heat of the oven doesn’t warm you, the promise of pie should help.
Cool Down During the Summer
Step 1: Embrace the heat. Unless you live in the Lut Desert in Iran, which once reached 157 degrees (the hottest land temperature ever recorded), try to refrain from running your air conditioner twenty-four hours a day. If you’re wearing a sweater inside in July (and you live in the Northern Hemisphere), you’re paying too much for your cooling bill.
Step 2: Be smart. Pull your shades down to block the sun, open your windows when the breeze is cool, and avoid using any heat-generating appliances (your oven, dishwasher, and dryer) until after the sun sets.
Step 3: Plant a tree. The branches will not only provide natural shade for your house, but also for your yard. Hang a hammock, enjoy the breeze, and have a lemonade.
More Nifty Tips
- If you’ve got big gaps around your doors and windows, add insulation before caulking. You can even use scraps from your rag bag, like wool, corduroy, or any heavy material.
- To make your own draft stopper, measure the width of your door and add 10 inches. Cut a piece of material that length by 12 inches wide. Sew the long sides together, fill it with rice, beans, or sand, and tie off the ends with a ribbon.
- Install a cheaper-than-A/C ceiling fan to create a cool breeze in the summer. In the reverse direction, it’ll circulate warm air in the winter, too.
- Swap out your lightbulbs for Energy Star-approved bulbs. Each bulb will save you thirty dollars over the course of its lifetime.
- If you’re worried about being too hot, just remember: Animals sweat, men perspire, ladies glow. Let yourself glow, girl.