I can't believe how quickly the weather went from pleasant to cold. We have been avoiding using our heat and yesterday was the first day that we really felt cold. When we got into bed we were both shivering like crazy. We ended up snuggling together under all of the blankets to warm up. We talked about turning the heat on, but neither of us wanted to give up the warmth of the bed for the minute it would take to light the furnace. In a way it was kinda nice, it was really cold but we were victorious in making it another night without turning on the heat. Tonight we have a friend passing through and crashing at our place, my guess is that she will want the heat, especially since she will be sleeping in the coldest room of the house. This got me thinking of ways to save on heat in our new place. We still aren't sure what our winter gas bills are going to look like, but we are going to do whatever it takes to keep them low.
Tomorrow I will be winterizing the house which is the first step to saving on heat. This simply means putting in or pulling down all of the storm windows, removing the window unit in our bedroom, and weather striping any leaky windows and doors. These are just basic things, but doing them all last winter (as opposed to the two prior winters that we didn't) ended up saving us a few hundred dollars on heat (it is amazing how much heat you lose through a few drafty windows.) Our new place is a little newer and seems to have better windows so there probably won't be a lot to do there.
Next, we keep our thermostat set pretty low, as cold as we can stand, and we just wear warm clothes around the apartment. If you can stand it, turn the heat off during the warmest hours of the day or when no one is home (though keep your pipes in mind when doing this.) This is where knitting comes in handy. Both Philip and I have those Fiber Trends clogs which are very warm (and they are super fun on hardwood floors.) Both pairs were made by my friend Sarah out of recycled wool which is an excellent option for the vegans out there who don't want to support the wool industry. We also wear hats and gauntlets around the house along with extra layers of clothing for added insulation.
Another great way to save on heat is use all of the free heat that you can get. This means opening up your drapes and blinds and letting in the sunshine during the day. This is really one of the hardest things for us, we seem to turn into cave dwellers during the winter and tend to keep things a little on the dark side. We managed to do this about 50% of the time last winter and it did make things warmer and there was the added bonus of the extra light making things a little cheerier.
My final tip is to eat at home. Turning that oven on and preparing a nice warm winter meal will save you money on eating out and your oven will keep you nice and toasty while you are cooking. Alternately, you could bake a loaf of bread, or a pie, or a frozen pizza if you aren't the cooking type and you will get the same benefits. I should clarify here that I am not recommending that anyone use their oven as a heater, that is both inefficient and dangerous, I am just saying that cooking will add five to ten degrees to the temperature of your kitchen so if you are hungry and cold opting out of fast food and microwave meals and using your oven instead will help warm things up.