Uncommon Winter Tips
that Save You Money!
Reverse the Fan
Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of. By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable. Here's how you know the fan is ready for winter: As you look up, the blades should be turning clockwise.
To locate drafts before chilly winds set in, point a small fan at the cracks outside each door and window. On the inside, have a second person hold a lit candle or a coat hanger with plastic wrap draped over it. Any flickering or fluttering indicates a wind-effect leak that you'll need to treat by adding weatherstripping or caulk. (Don't forget to check the garage door.)
Storm window kits are a great way to insulate windows when you can't afford or aren't able to replace leaky storms. You can buy kits from a local hardware store for less than $20 for three to four windows (depending on size) and apply directly to the inside of your window. The kit includes a plastic film that attaches with double-sticky tape and flattens when you apply a hairdryer.
Manage Sun Exposure
Keep window shades, blinds or curtains open during the day to take advantage of solar heat and close them in the evening to retain that heat.
Break Out The Draft Snakes
Draft snakes, or draft stoppers, are long tubes that serve as added insulation at the bottom of a door on the inside of the house. While most people use snakes on doors leading to the outside, they also come in handy if you turn down the heat at night and don't want heat leaking out of your bedroom.
Lower Water Temperatures
Your hot-water heater is probably turned higher than necessary. Most heaters are set at 140 F. Turn the temp down to 120 F and you'll reduce your water-heating costs 6 percent to 10 percent. Remember many electric water heaters have both an upper and lower thermostat to adjust. Remember to turn the electricity off at the circuit breaker before making adjustments.
Find Your Winter Tools
Make sure you have a good snow shovel or two and sharpen their edges, if possible. Stock your home with rock salt and sand for icy surfaces. Place car window ice scrapers in the cars, along with small bags of rock salt or sand for emergencies. (This is a good time to update your emergency auto kit.)