Did You Know?
Did you know? The average home emits twice the carbon dioxide as a vehicle, and heating plays a big part in that. Just heating a house in winter accounts for over 1/3 of annual utility usage (EPA). Turning your heat down a few degrees can make a big difference. You can save as much as 10% on utility bills by lowering the temperature 7 degrees for 8 hours a day (Dept. of Energy). If you’re sleeping or not home, remember to turn the temperature down. To further reduce your energy usage make sure your furnace is well maintained. Dirty filters, ducts that are leaky and unclean, and systems that aren’t working at peak efficiency can create large losses in the amount of heat that actually reaches your living area. Make sure your furnaces (and stoves and fireplaces) receive maintenance each year to keep them safe and efficient.
Here are some other tips to help you reduce your energy consumption through the winter:
Layer It On Thick
There are endless types of clothes out there made for keeping warm. Instead of lounging around the house in shorts and a t-shirt, put on some layers and stay toasty. Thick socks and sweatshirts just may make you want to turn that thermostat down a couple of degrees. Also, keep a blanket handy for when you start to feel cold while watching TV or movies. Cuddling with pets works well, too.
Don’t Be Idle – Part 1
If your car was made after the 1980’s, the chances of it needing to ‘warm up’ are slim. While warming up the car is necessary in vehicles with carburetors, modern vehicles use a fuel injection system that does not require running for more than 30 seconds before driving. In fact letting a cold car idle for too long can actually hurt the engine (Firestone). Turn your car on, quickly scrape off the ice (which may also warm you up), and go!
Put the Kettle On
A kettle keeping warm on the stove has 3 purposes. 1) Humidity: Moist air feels warmer that dry air. In the winter, the air tends to be dryer – hence the continual shocks we get when we touch things. A kettle will release steam and help to make the air in your home feel better. 2) Hot beverages: Hot drinks can help to warm you from the inside out. Having a kettle on will mean that tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are just a few seconds away, should you feel a chill. 3) It’s cozy: And cozy feels warm.
Don’t Be Idle – Part 2
Get moving! It’s easy to feel sluggish and down during the winter months. Getting outside and moving is good for your mental and physical health. Exploring nature trails, helping your neighbor shovel snow, or taking your dog for a walk are all great ways to keep warm while getting some exercise and sunshine. Plus, coming inside after being out in the cold makes your home seem really warm! Weather too nasty to go outside? Even moving around inside for a few minutes will get your blood flowing and make you feel warmer. Use the opportunity to clean or organize something you’ve been putting off for a while.
For more waste reduction tips, visit www.LawrenceRecycles.org or call 832-3032.
** Want to read more tips? View previous Did You Know articles here! **