Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home and Hearth: Winter Tips

Friendship that flows from the heart cannot be frozen by adversity, as the water that flows from the spring cannot congeal in winter. ~James Fenimore Cooper

Winter is in full swing for most of us, despite a few warm days. There are many things you can do to keep your heating costs down, and also some things to watch out for during the winter.

Allow as much sun as possible into your house. During the day open all the shades and drapes, which will help warm your home. If it's a very cloudy, windy day or in the evening, close the curtains to keep in the warmth. Especially at night, keep your thermostat as low as you can while remaining comfortable, and double up on the blankets. A degree or two can save you money. Keep the humidity level up in your home by placing shallow pans or bowls of water near heating vents or on top of radiators and wood stoves. Invest in a humidifier if you can. We all know to use storm windows or some type of weather stripping to keep out drafts. Watch the bottom of your doors for drafts. For example, use a rolled up blanket in front of the door to block drafts. Old houses are especially prone to drafts. Our first home had this problem and blocking the bottom of the door made a HUGE difference.

Carbon monoxide is always a concern, more so when the house is closed up tighter and we are using heaters and furnaces more often. The following are safety tips:

-Be cautious and only work on fuel-burning appliances if you are experienced; this includes oil and gas furnaces,gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces. If you suspect something isn't right call someone who is experienced.

-Don't use your gas oven to heat your home.

-Never use a charcoal grill inside-even if it's on a hearth or fireplace.

-Don't leave your car or snowblower running in a closed garage. Fumes can build up quickly in the garage and seep into your home.

- Never use a gas or kerosene heater in an enclosed space.

Note: If you don't have a furnace repairman that you've used in the past, find one now before you need them. Find out rates and hours, then post them someplace you'll remember. Our furnace gave out on a weekend-we were lucky to find someone nearby who had the part and fixed it in a short time. You'll need to compare weekend and after hour rates, as well as regular rates. Also, have a back-up! Hopefully, you won't need a repairman, but if you do-be prepared.

Tips on OFL for cleaner air in your home-

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brenda,
    I always put clear plastic over my windows to keep the cold air out. But this year the plastic seems alot thinner.



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