No More Excuses – Turn Off the Heater
Sometimes people talk about how they plan to conserve energy by turning off the lights, installing an electronic thermostat, or wearing warmer clothes while lowering the temperature of the thermostat. That may even be their New Year’s Resolution! Sometimes those same people never take action. Sometimes those same people don’t have a choice. Like us.
No more excuses – the heat is off
One night, in the middle of January, our furnace quietly shut down, never to warm our bodies again. The heat exchanger is cracked. February was only a few days away, and the furnace was not repairable.
So now, no more excuses – the heater is off.
Light up the fireplace
Thankfully our house has a vent-free propane fireplace in the great room. When we awoke that cold morning, realizing that the furnace was off, the first thing my hubby did was light the fireplace. Then he went downstairs to try to light the furnace. No luck. Naturally that was on a week-end, and calling in a repair man would have cost an arm and a leg. So we decided to stick it out until Monday, and call the repair service then. Meanwhile we would go into "stay warm without a furnace" mode.
Reverse the ceiling fans
After the fireplace had been burning for a while, we set the ceiling fans to "reverse" and turned them on their slowest speed. Research indicates that using ceiling fans in the winter in reverse redistributes the warm air that has risen to the ceiling, pushing the warm air back down towards the floor. By using ceiling fans in this way, the temperature of the entire room will increase. Heating bills can be lowered by as much as 10% if ceiling fans are used properly in the winter.
Layer on the loose-fitting clothes
Fortunately we used to enjoy winter sports, and we still have thermal underwear and plenty of warm outerwear. Wearing several layers of loose-fitting light-weight natural fiber clothes can help keep a person warm better than one layer of thick and heavy synthetic fiber clothing. Air itself acts as an insulator when it is trapped between layers of clothing. Natural fibers can wick moisture away from the skin, but synthetic fibers will trap moisture against the skin. When trying to save money by turning the heater off (or coping when the heater has broken down) dressing in layers is a very effective way to deal with the cold temperatures of winter.
Read conservation tips from energy websites
Some of the best tips on energy conservation, and how to stay warmer in the winter, or cooler in the summer, can be found by searching Texas Electricity Providers or the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Of course there are the common tips, like making sure that the house has plenty of insulation, but there are some lesser known tips too.
Comfort food makes the house comfortable too
One of my favorite tips has to do with using the kitchen appliances differently – run the dishwasher during the day, cook with the stove and oven more in the winter. These appliances throw off some serious heat, and you can easily take advantage of that with very little effort. The aroma of bread baking, a stew simmering, or a roast in the oven warms the body AND the soul.
Just do it
With a little bit of planning, and the family’s co-operation, turning off the heater does not have to be a hardship. Use the fireplace, the ceiling fans, and wear your thermal underwear and sweaters. Use your kitchen appliances with an eye towards using their heat to warm the house. Conserving energy this way is easier than you may realize!