November and the time to “fall-back” are upon us. By now, you’ve most likely had a few “oh man… winter is coming!” moments of your own. You’re busting out the winter jacket (hoping to find a long-lost $20 in the pocket), dusting off the snow gear, and counting the days until the mountains open. But, what is your home doing to prepare for the season change? Our friends at #4pieces put together this list of things you can do for your home, car and self to prepare for winter in the greenest ways possible.
In the car:
While it may be temping to idle the car in the garage to warm it up before your morning commute, this is a wasteful (and potentially dangerous) practice. Did you know that your car actually warms up more quickly while driving than while idling? Not only is idling a waste of gas, it can be harmful to your health if you run the car while in a closed garage, and it can also cause wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
- Survey the exterior of your home: Are there any cracks or gaps where warm air can escape? Be sure to check gutters, windows, doors and vents in particular.
- Purchase weather striping or caulk to seal any leaks around windows, doors or other entryways into your home.
- Insulate all exposed pipes.
- Have your vents and ducts professionally cleaned for more efficient heating/circulation.
- Research products that can insulate your attic. There are a number of items on the market that help prevent warm air from escaping up and out of your home and which will save energy and money on heating costs. Be sure to look for alternatives to traditional insulation(cellulose and spray foam are a few options).
- Check your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
- Consider your landscaping. Plant trees close to your home (particularly evergreens for winter), as they act as a windbreaker and actually help keep your home warmer.
- Consider purchasing blackout curtains to keep the warmth in.
- Install an eco-friendly furnace filter to keep your air clean, and be sure that your furnace is in complete working order/have it serviced before the coldest months hit.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances and heating systems.
- Stock up on cold-weather comforts – organic blankets, pajamas, hot chocolate, soups, etc.
- When the temperatures finally take a turn for the worse, try to keep your thermostat at 68°F.
- Hot water bottles may seem oh-so-50’s, but they can be a great way to keep warm and toasty under the covers!
- Use area rugs to warm up tile, marble or hardwood floors on those chilly winter mornings.
- Consider a programmable thermostat – over time, they more than pay for themselves.
- Close doors to unused rooms – this keeps the heat circulating in the rooms you use the most.
- Keep the thermostat as low as you (comfortably) can. Even a one-degree change can make a difference in your heating costs and reduce carbon emissions.
- Eat and drink warm, comfort foods. Think chicken soup, hot cocoa, tea, baked goods, etc.