We are coming up on our third winter in this apartment. The first year, we kept the heater on as much as we wanted, despite the costs (which were almost double). But last year we were barely scraping by financially after multiple job changes, so we avoided turning on the heat in the apartment for as long as we could. Basically, we didn’t turn the heater on until Tristan was born on December 19th.
This year, while technically we can afford to run the heater as much as we want again, we are also about to go into 2016 having met our 2015 savings goal by 150%, so we want to maximize our savings! Here are 5 tips we learned last year that will help us this year:
1. Wear layers
It might seem like common sense, but wearing layers doesn’t come naturally to this happily barefoot hippie. Wearing house shoes is a new habit I’m getting used to, but I don’t like socks. However, it’s winter, and my toes don’t like winter. So socks and house shoes it is.
2. Get a reliable space heater
Rather than turn on the heater for the whole apartment, use a portable heater for wherever you are. Some portable heaters can be fire hazards, so be careful when choosing one. We have two electric fireplaces for this winter that are quite warm and add such a homey feel to our home. Opt for an energy-efficient heater if you can find one.
3. Curl up with a good book and a blanket
People with Seasonal Affective Disorder, great news! I was just reading about a Danish practice called “hyggye,” which basically is intentional relaxation and “in-the-momentness.” It’s a time to mindfully indulge in something that makes you feel good, which can be anything from a long soak in the tub to a cozy homemade meal with friends. Apparently this is how the Danish combat long winters.
4. Drink coffee/hot cocoa/tea
Going along with the good book and blanket, drinking a hot drink is a great way to warm up. It’s common knowledge that I love coffee, but I recognize that there are other options.
5. Bake something
This morning the apartment was the kind of cold where you don’t want to get out of bed. So rather than turn on the heater, I turned on the oven instead. Sunday is typically my baking day, so I enjoyed the warmth of the oven – and the delicious aroma of bran muffins (I use this recipe, but I use almond milk and coconut oil instead of buttermilk and vegetable oil).
6. Winter-proof your home
Approximately 11% of heat escapes through your front door. Last year Peter noticed a large draft coming through our front door, so our maintenance man installed some new weatherstrips on the inside. It was a simple fix and now there isn’t a draft! We also have blackout thermal curtains that help cut the draft around the windows with an A/C unit.
By implementing these 6 simple steps, we estimate that we will only need to turn on the heater on the coldest of cold days, and then only for a few hours as our home is appropriately weather-proofed. I hope they help you save too!