According to everything we hear lately, this winter will be a relatively mild one. Thank you El Niño!

But seriously, unless temperatures are consistently above 23 degrees, it’s too darn cold for a lot of us. Come September or October, and without fail, we rotate our clothing, doing the summer to winter transition. Out come the warm sweaters and long sleeve shirts; corduroy pants; flannel pjs; and fuzzy or wool socks. Just like magic, all the thick throws and blankets that were hidden away in summer…out of the blue, appear on couches, beds, and armchairs.

And very slowly, we raise the thermostat temperature to warm up the house, but with the high cost of heating homes today, we grudgingly do so. Can you hear your mother saying “If you’re cold, go put a sweater on!!!” 

Putting on an extra layer to stay warm is fine, but you can still keep your home warm and comfortable, while still being energy efficient.

Did you know that it’s possible to save approximately 3% on your heating costs for every degree the thermostat is lowered?

  • Get a programmable thermostat, and set it to automatically raise and lower temperatures when necessary. When you’re not home during the day, and at night when everyone is sleeping - keep the house cooler than usual. Set the thermostat for an hour before returning home or awakening, so the furnace will kick in and start warming the house up.

  • About the furnace…replace or clean its air filters every three months. This helps keep it running smoothly, and to improve your home’s air quality.  

  • How the attic insulation situation? Anything less than 16”, you might want to consider topping it up. The better insulated a home is means less heat loss, which translates into one of the most cost effective methods of keeping your heating costs down.

  • If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate in a clockwise direction. This will push warm air downwards. Also, humidifiers will make the air feel warmer in your house.

  • Don’t diss this - but caulking and weather-stripping around doors, windows and exterior wall electrical outlets will help keep the warm air in during the winter.

Don’t forget, CO detectors are now required by law in sleeping areas in residential homes with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages. Check the ones in your home to make sure they’re working properly. Also, if you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, a cord of wood goes a long way in helping to lower heating costs, but do hire a professional to clean it every year or so.

Put on that sweater, grab a blanket and snuggle with your honey, the kids, or your pet - and turn down the thermostat and watch some Netflix.

Spring comes in March.