Make Your Home a Cozy Little Nest
Winter in the Pacific Northwest can get a little chilly, especially with all the rain we’ll see between now and spring! And that means we’ll be spending more time indoors, creating our own little idyllic holiday scenes of a cozy gathering of family and friends playing a board game or discussing the upcoming Star Wars movie, complete with a roaring fire and mugs of hot chocolate, is entirely possible.
We may not see much snow – unless you head up to Mt. Hood for a day of snowboarding – but we can still light the tree or the menorah, and hunker down for a cozy night in your nest.
There are multiple ways you can turn your home from a delightful summer bungalow into a warm little hobbit hovel, and it doesn’t just involve cranking up the heat. After all, it is also important to be energy-efficient, especially during the winter months.
Read on to learn more about a few easy ways you can save energy while keeping your home warm and cozy during the upcoming winter months.
Don’t Turn the Heat Up So High
While you are in your home, have your heat as low as possible while still maintaining a comfortable level for being inside. Part of the fun of the winter holidays is wearing wool sweaters and scarves, not frolicking about wearing tank tops! Let your family and friends revel in their winter wardrobe choices, and keep the thermostat set at around 65 degrees.
When you leave to go shopping or stroll along the waterfront, turn your heat down a few degrees to save energy. When you bring your friends or family back to the house for a nice cup of spiked eggnog or warm apple cider, no one will bother to complain about the temperature of your home. Why? Because no matter how much cooler it is inside (compared to the normal temperature), it will still be a lot warmer than it was outside.
Maintain Your Heating Systems
Make sure your home’s various heating systems are working soundly; this includes replacing your furnace’s air filter seasonally, and cleaning out vents if you have wood or pellet burning heaters. Don’t forget to include grooming the dog (the real seat heater of the household), and scheduling tune-ups for your furnace.
Gas fireplaces can be cleaned and serviced for the winter months, and material for a wood burning fireplace can be stocked up and kept outside, covered or in a dry area.
Try Using Small Space Heaters
Instead of cranking up the thermostat all of the time when you definitely can’t be in every room all at once, another option is to purchase a few small space heaters and to place them strategically around your home.
Be smart about it, and choose the rooms where you naturally spend the most time. When you shop for space heaters, carefully read the packaging to ensure you’ve selected one that’s as energy efficient as possible.
This Winter, Let the Light In: Using Curtains to Your Advantage
In a drizzly, gray city like Portland, this might be a tip that’s rarely utilized, but be mindful of it just the same. This winter, leave the south-facing curtains and shades open during the day so your home receives whatever warmth there is from the sun. It doesn’t take much effort to let the world’s biggest space heater do some of the work for you.
You can also close the heavy drapes when the sun goes down to keep extra warmth trapped inside.
Don’t Let the Cat Go Outside So Often
These creatures are furry and loving and can provide you with ample warmth when you sit on the couch together, but they can also be notoriously indecisive. They meow by the door incessantly, and then when you open the door to let them out, they stare at you and saunter over to the warm fire, only to curl up as if nothing has happened.
Instead of catering to your feline’s every whim, wait until he really makes it obvious that he has to go out. In the meantime, keep him huddled up as close to your lap as possible.
Switch to LED Lights on the Tree
LED lights give off a warmer glow and come in fancy little strings that you can wrap around your dog when he isn’t paying attention. Although they cost a bit more, they’ll last longer and save tons of energy while keeping the tree fresh longer!
Conduct a Basic Home Energy Audit
Roam through the rooms of your house and check that your windows are sealed with up tight with storm windows or window film (some people even use Saran Wrap!), and that your doors are lined with new weather stripping.
Check for Blockages
Make sure that your heating vents are not blocked by wayward couches that may be restricting the flow of warm air through the house. Other potential blockages include dog toys, erstwhile sweaters, children’s toys, etc.
Close the Door!
Consider closing the doors to rooms that aren’t being used, in order to funnel the warm air into rooms that you do use. You can always decorate these closed doors with funny signs that say “Beware: Attack Cat” and “Leprechaun Lair: Enter at Your Own Risk” to confuse and amuse your party guests.
Staying Warm and Cozy All Through the PDX Winter
There are many ways to keep your home warm and cozy during the holiday season, and we’ve highlighted just a few tips that will help you enjoy the winter festivities without succumbing to frostbite.
The most important thing to remember about energy saving during the holidays is that every little bit counts, both in keeping you warm and in saving a few dollars on your energy bills!