Saving Money and Staying Warm in Winter

Budget-Friendly Solutions For Home Heating In The Winter

California is known for having ideal weather, so many people overlook the fact that homes still require heating during the cooler months of the year. Families with lower incomes in the Sacramento area may struggle to cover the costs associated with keeping the home comfortably warm during the colder seasons. Thankfully, there are some budget-friendly ways to keep your head home as warm as you need it without wasting too much money. 

Look at sources of thermal loss and address them

Thermal loss is a fancy phrase for describing the heat that escapes your home. Windows, doors, and vents in outer walls are common sources of thermal loss. So too are chimneys and fireplaces. Older buildings in particular lose a lot of heat through the windows and doors. If you can qualify for subsidies, replacing the windows or doors in your home can do a lot to reduce thermal loss. Adding insulation to the walls and roof can also help.

If you can't afford these more expensive options, basic plastic window insulation kits can help. You apply them from inside using provided adhesive strips and a blow dryer. They help prevent the loss of warm air through windows or the incursion of cold air. For doors with drafts, you may consider filling the leg of an old pair of pants or leggings with rice and sealing the ends. Place this against the bottom of the door to keep cold air from drifting into your house. Finally, to keep your home warm and cozy, close the doors in front of your fireplace unless it is in use. If there isn't a way to close off your fireplace, consider making one with plywood or cardboard that you can remove when and if you choose to use the fireplace.

Learn to layer your clothing

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The colder you feel, the more likely you are to turn up the temperature on your thermostat. The larger the discrepancy between the outdoor temperature and the temperature in your house, the more fuel you will have to burn to maintain that temperature. In other words, setting your thermostat to a lower temperature saves money. Keeping yourself warm by wearing extra layers, including thick socks, long pants, and several shirts, can help regulate your body temperature without the need to increase the ambient temperature in your home. Don't forget the hat! Thanks to Clothing Program donations, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services provided over 300,000 articles of clothing last year, free of charge, to families and individuals throughout the Sacramento community. Learn more here, if you are in need of seasonal weather attire.

Upgrade to a programmable thermostat

You can purchase programmable thermostats for as low as $20 during sales at big box stores. These devices can easily be installed in under an hour and offer major energy-saving benefits. You don't need the temperature in your home to be as high when everyone is gone during the day. Similarly, once you are in bed at night, you can let the temperature drop then as well. Programming a thermostat with appropriate temperatures at different times and on different days can help you save a lot of money on heating.

Keeping heating costs low is important for a family on a strict budget. There are some programs that can help you with heating costs and with improvements to your home. Exploring all of your options and taking simple steps can keep your costs low and keep your family budget on track.

Submitted by: Jane Lloyd
Freelance Writer