If you go on vacation in the winter, set your thermostat to 55° or even 50°F. This will save you lots on your heating bill but will also keep your pipes from freezing.
To make your Christmas party more enjoyable for everyone, turn your furnace off shortly before your guests arrive. Everyone will be more comfortable throughout the evening because as your home cools off, the body heat from your guests will help keep things warm.
In addition to draining your bank account, Christmas shopping also uses an enormous amount of gasoline. Try to combine Christmas shopping trips to minimize how far you have to travel.
I'm sorry, but our November utility bill was, well, average for November. The weather was normal and our usage fit well within our norms. The price of gas was abnormally low, at $1.25 per therm, but the price of water was abnormally high, at $2.24 per CCF. (I am so glad we got the water supply line fixed before the price went up!)
November 2007 Data
Electricity, in kWh
Cost / Unit
Gas, in Therms
Cost / Unit
Water, in CCF
Cost / Unit
Use LED Christmas lights for holiday decoration. They can last up to 10,000 hours, are just as bright and twinkly as the old-fashioned lights, and use 90% of the power, which can add up to big savings over the holiday season.
If you need to really shut off a vent, remove the vent cover, put thick layer of plastic sheeting over the vent, and re-install the vent cover. Several thicknesses of food-grade plastic wrap can be substituted for plastic sheeting. Just swinging the vent closed has almost no effect.
This winter, in an older homes with single pane windows, add transparent plastic film over the to help keep the heat in and the cold out. You can use a hair dryer to smooth out any wrinkles.
On Thanksgiving, my wife told me she felt a draft coming from the flush-mounted range vent on our electric stove. That's the slotted black thing in the middle of the picture below.
Here's a closer look at the range vent:
There was a draft coming from the vent. We never actually use the vent — electric stoves are extremely difficult to keep clean, so we avoid using it at all. Even then, we just use it to boil water for pasta or soften some onions.
So I thought and thought and thought and finally I figured out a plan. Anything that is designed to suck hot air out of your home is also very, very good at letting cold air into your home. What I needed to do is somehow block off the range vent.
First, I got some leftover three-mil black landscaping plastic from the garage and some black duct tape. Then I taped the plastic over the range vent filter and then I taped the filter back into place. It's a black stove, so nothing shows — and that cold draft has gone away for good.
Here's a tip, though — remember you did this, in case you ever actually need your range hood.
Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours."- Robert Byrne
If like us you have a range hood over your stove but you never use it, block it off. Remember, anything that is designed to suck hot air out of your home is also very, very good at letting cold air into your home.
Remember you did this, just in case you ever need to actually use the range hood!