Friday, November 13, 2009
Ways to make your apartment more energy efficient during the long cold winter
There are many relatively cheap and efficient ways to make it through the long winter months, take care of the environment, and keep yourself warm all at the same time.
First of all, I will share my good friend, Pam's advice:
-wear lots of clothes
-turn down the heat
-cover the windows with that shrink wrap stuff to block any drafts and if possible use lined drapes as well
-use energy efficient light bulbs
-if you have bare wood or tile floors, cover them with carpet runners, so they won't be so cold
-when you take a shower, leave the bathroom door open to increase the moisture in the air, as moist air retains heat better....and it feels better too
hmm...have I forgotten anything?
She has forgotten a few things. If you are unfortunate enough to have a gas furnace, like I do, you MUST buy a programmable thermostat. The one I have has for settings per day and weekdays vs. weekends. I set mine to 60 when I'm gone during the day, and when I'm in bed. I set it to go up to 7o when I get up in the morning and when I get home from work. This will save loads. Also, your gas company probably has a "budget plan" in which you pay the same amount year-round, even in the summer months when you are not running your furnace. This evens it out throughout the year and avoids $400+ bills during the winter months. Your bills are calculated based on your yearly usage.
If you have radiator heat, it probably gets way too hot in winter, so you probably need to crack a window to cool down some. At least this option is usually paid for by the building management company or landlord.
Most old apartments have openings in areas like behind kitchen cabinets, and in bathrooms and around pipes where they go through the floor. Stuff these areas with insulation or with "Tuff Stuff" to keep out the chill. "Tuff Stuff" is sprayed through a can and expands to fill openings as it dries. Its great.
Put insulation tape around all doors leading to the outside. You can light a match or candle and hold it around the cracks to see where air is coming in. Obviously the flame will blow to let you know what areas need to be protected.
If you have old windows, you can replace them, because a TON of hot air can escape the cracks. If you have the money, go for it, it's well worth it in the long run.
DO NOT leave the bathroom fan on for any extended period of time. A lot of heat can escape through this opening, and you won't realize it until it's too late.
And finally, invest in ceiling fans. Since hot air rises, the fan, on it's winter setting, will spread the warm air around the room. Especially if you are like me and the heating ducts are near the ceiling...the fan evens it out.
Hope these tips helped. As I said, they will make up for it all in the long run! Try it out!