There’s no doubt that winter is a beautiful time of the year. The chill in the air brings with it cozy nights by the fire, bundling up in heavy sweaters, scarves, and gloves, the crunch of freshly fallen snow beneath your feet, and the smell of cookies and spices nearly everywhere you go. On the other side of the coin, the cold weather also means running the furnace more and higher heating bills. Back in August we gave you 4 ways to be more eco-friendly, which are still great tips year round, but the winter months bring their own set of challenges to your carbon footprint and monthly utility costs. Not to worry, with a few simple habit changes, apartment upgrades, and inexpensive purchases you can still be good to the environment no matter how harsh the Hoosier winter gets.
One of the simplest habit changes to consider is simply dressing warmer while home and keep the temperature lower at all times. You can also use this as an excuse to work on your baking and cooking skills and hang out in the kitchen to keep warm.
If you tend to run cold anyway, or just don’t want to turn your thermostat down while you’re home, you should at least consider turning the heat off (or at least way down) during the day when you’re away at work. Simply program your thermostat to turn down when you leave for the day, then turn back up 30-45 minutes before you’re due to get back. Also make sure to leave your curtains, blinds, and drapes open throughout the day so the sun can naturally heat the room.
Continuing with temperature control, try turning the heat down at night to save on energy usage and cost. You may need to add another blanket or two or get heavier bedding, but this may have the added benefit of you waking up more rested since scientists suggest the best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67°F.
The first step in winterizing your apartment is to do a bit of cleaning. If your vents are filled with dust they can’t work efficiently, so grab a vacuum attachment or duster and get rid of any dust, cobwebs, or anything else that may be blocking the air flow.
Speaking of airflow, take a look at your furniture placement and where vents are located. Is anything blocking vents? If so, rearrange the furniture so that your heater doesn’t have to work harder than it should. We did talk about this point in our August blog, but it’s worth mentioning again especially for the winter months.
Another easy way to use what you already have is to run your ceiling fan in reverse. As we learned in elementary school science, heat rises. If you run your fans in reverse it will push that warm air back down to you where you can enjoy it.
While it’s not completely necessary, there are a few items you can consider buying to add to the effectiveness of your heater and to keep your energy usage down. For example, while you should notify property management of any larger drafts you feel, you can also keep the warm air inside with a draft stopper. For an even cheaper option simply roll up towels and place them at the base of outside doors and windows.
Another fairly inexpensive purchase that could pay for itself quickly is a humidifier. Since humid air tends to feel warmer, by running a humidifier you may be able to turn your heat down a couple degrees. This may also keep you healthier throughout cold season, as dry air aids the spread of certain germs not to mention it dries out your throat and nasal passages.
You may also want to consider purchasing rugs and wall hangings or heavy drapes. Anything that will be a barrier between you and the cold floors, walls, and windows can help tremendously. Plus it’s a smart way to give your apartment your own style!