Summers are getting hotter and winters are getting colder. With the reality of climate change comes the increased costs to heat and cool our homes. It might be tempting to stay in and crank up the AC, but overreliance on air conditioning and gas furnaces is part of the problem. It doesn’t take a lot of money to help lessen our impact on the climate, just a little bit of effort.
In fact, there are plenty of ways to endure a more volatile climate that save you money andprevent further damage to the environment. Instead of flipping on the furnace and watching your gas bill skyrocket, try these simple techniques to deal with harsh weather:
Turn Off The Temperature Control
Don’t go straight for your home’s internal heating and cooling systems. These are by far the most expensive ways to regulate temperature in your home, and should be reserved for use only in extreme circumstances or when you have guests over. Use them as a last resort, and if you must use them, set them at their lowest settings. An AC unit set to 80 combined with the use of a fan or other more frugal methods of temperature control can do wonders to cool your house without forcing the AC to do all the work. Temperature control uses a lot of energy, so relying on other means of heating and cooling is the best thing for the environment.
Focus Room By Room
You don’t need every room in your home to be equally habitable; after all, you can’t be everywhere at once. Try using a space heater to focus on the room you’re in at the moment, rather than using the furnace to heat the entire house. You’ll save a ton of money by donning a robe to travel to the frostier parts of the house such as the bathroom or the kitchen rather than trying to heat the whole house equally.
Do A Lot Of Baking
Let your appliances work for you. A hot oven can do wonders to heat your kitchen while you’re making dinner, killing two birds with one stone. When you’ve finished cooking, leave the oven door open to let the heat continue to warm your kitchen while the oven cools down. You don’t want to waste the heat you’ve already got.
Adjust Your Shower Based On The Season
It can be tempting to want to relax into a piping hot shower at the end of the day, but in the summer months this can be the worst thing to do. You need to be slightly cooler than normal in order to fall asleep, so taking a hot shower will force you to use the AC on full blast in order to bring your body temperature back down. If you take a cold shower, however, you can cool your body down enough to fall asleep without too much trouble.
Adversely, in the winter, go ahead and take that piping hot shower. The frigid temperature of your bedroom will be enough to cool you down once you’ve crawled beneath the covers, leaving you bundled and pleasantly warmed by your own body heat.
Dress For The Outside Weather
Most people want to dress for comfort inside their homes, but sometimes that can mean putting on more than you normally would. A pair of lounging shorts and a t-shirt won’t be enough to keep you as comfortable in December as it will in August, so bundle up for those winter months. While you don’t have to go for the full winter jacket and boots, a heavy knit sweater and a pair of long pants will help you stay warm indoors without needing to crank up the heat. Add to that an electric blanket and you’ll have more than enough warmth to stay comfortable.
In the summer, opt for as little as you feel comfortable with. Shorts and tank tops are your friends, and if you can be barefoot in your home, do it. You’d be surprised how much cooler you feel without a pair of socks and shoes keeping the heat in.
Fix The Leaks
One of the biggest wastes of money and energy is air leaking through a door or window. Give your house a thorough inspection to find any places where air can get in or out. Use a caulking gun on any spots on your windows where air is leaking, and add a weather strip to doors to the outside where cold air leaks through the edges.
If you’re using the AC to cool your home, you want as much of the cold air to remain inside as possible; anything that leaks outside wastes you money and amplifies your gas bill. Similarly, if you’re trying to stay warm, cold air finding its way inside will cause a draft and increase the temptation to use the furnace.
Drink, Drink, Drink
Nothing cools you down more in those toasty summer months than an ice cold drink. Iced tea, lemonade, or even just a glass of ice water are excellent ways to lower your body temperature and stay hydrated during the heat. And if you’re looking for something to warm you up during those chilly winters, keep your kettle full. A nice mug of hot cocoa or tea is the perfect thing to warm you from the inside out.
Let The Sunlight In
In the winter, keep your curtains open during the day to let the sun heat your home naturally. Direct sunlight is a great way to warm up a room so take advantage of the sun’s rays in rooms of your house that have windows facing the sun. And if you’re trying to keep cool during the summer, invest in some blackout curtains to turn your living room or bedroom into a shady cave. Using blackout curtains in your bedroom will also help you get better sleep quality in addition to keeping you cool.