The ABC's of Keeping Warm, Saving Energy and Money This Winter

**Thank you to Hilary Smith for wanting to contribute an article on Purposeful Homemaking. I hope you find her post helpful as you look for ways to keep your house warm while saving money this winter. 

Similar to the proverbial grasshopper and the ant, many of us are beginning to prepare for the onset of winter, but instead of gathering food, the majority of us are making our homes ready for the upcoming colder months. But we don’t need to spend an inordinate amount of time or money to keep our families cozy and warm this season.

Let’s look at a few basic “ABC’s” of saving money and energy without feeling the chilly sting from Jack Frost.


In the classic chick-flick, Steel Magnolias, Olympia Dukakis’ character Clairee delivers this memorable quote when she chimes, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize,” and we should heed her advice this winter. Keep plenty of cozy items around the house, throw blankets on the couch, thick, warm socks and slippers nearby. Instead of turning up the thermostat when we feel a chill, reach for a wrap or blanket instead.

When it comes to heating accessories for our home, many people don’t realize that area rugs on bare floors can help to keep our houses warmer. Window dressings, blinds and drapes can let in southerly sunshine and warmth during the day, while keeping the chill out during evening hours. Be sure to let the sun shine in when it’s out and drape those panes closed at night.


Be sure to check furnace and heating system filters regularly and change them as needed. While many experts recommend changing them bimonthly, it’s a good idea to check them every month, especially during winter months as an added precaution. Blockage from built up debris on these devices not only causes these systems to work harder costing more on our monthly utility bill, clean filters allow more heat to be delivered into our home. Also be sure that vents are not being obstructed and rooms not in use are closed off with their vents shut tight.

You can also block warm air from escaping through cracks around windows and doorways. Foam insulation is inexpensive and easy to apply. Many local utility companies will perform an energy audit of your home at no cost to see if you could benefit from this and other money saving practices like adding more insulation to your attic.


Similar to weatherizing and insulating, there are a number of other minor, inexpensive, home improvement projects that can save significantly on energy costs. For example, if you have an older water heater, putting a cover on it can shave between 4 and 9% off these heating costs while preventing standby temperature loss by up to 45%. You can find these wraps and jackets at almost any home improvement store, they only cost around $20 and are a snap to install.

Another place many people don’t realize heat is escaping from their homes is through wall outlets. While shopping for your hot water heater cover, be sure to stop by the electrical department and look at specialized switchplates, wall outlets that are sealed and these install quickly and easily. Don’t forget to pick up plenty of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) to replace those energy-draining incandescent bulbs.

By utilizing some of these elementary energy saving practices, you can save more money on your utility bill while conserving energy and helping to save the environment … all wrapped up into one pretty package … just in time for the holidays!


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