Sunday, January 8, 2017

Keeping Cozy During Winter Months

Winter is upon us, and while the snow flies we can work on ways to keep the dollars from flying away as well.

I've asked some of my friends what they do to help conserve resources during the cold winter months.  This is not an exhaustive list (I'm sure there will be more posts on this as more ideas float around and the winter months go on.)

Something we do in our house is electric heat tape on water pipes.  We have a small crawl space type basement underneath the part of the house where the water pipes run, and hubby wrapped what he could in the heat tape.  It really does help in keeping pipes from freezing in the bitter cold.  Also, in the worst of temps we drip the faucets to keep just a little movement so there's no freezing up.  Back on the farm, we'd keep the cabinets open wide and drip faucets, but it would still be so so bitter that the pipes froze over anyway (many years ago back on the Missouri farms)--but dad never used heat tape.  There was no place to plug in, nor really room to get under there much as the floor of the house was literally 4 to 5 inches above the dirt.  Gotta love the old old farmhouses!  Through the years, even in the days as a single mom living in a little bitty mobile home (12x50) among other places, the heat tape seemed to make a big difference.  It may seem a bit of an investment at first, but it is cheaper than broken water pipes.  When I had my small trailer, I also wrapped the pipes in a black foam cover that went over the electric tape as extra insulation.  Whether that was a good idea or not, it helped insulated exposed pipes from Missouri winters.

Many of my friends suggested wood heat.  I fully agree with this one!  Wood heat is a renewable resource, and it takes elbow grease to get it, but the warmth it provides is amazing.  Many years ago my aunt and uncle had wood heat in their living room, and it was so so warm and cozy.  Good memories there!  In our rural area, wood is a big part of heating, and you can smell the wood burning through out the town here.  When we first moved into town, I would smell the wood burning, and since we live in a wood frame house, would be alarmed and get up to make sure our house wasn't on fire.  It took me a while to get used to having many people around us use wood heat.  My favorite memories are of my aunt and uncle's house with the wood heat, and my cousin and her husband's home with the outside wood burning stove that provided heat inside and also provided enough heat to help keep a greenhouse going around the heater.  One day I would love to have wood heat.  Until then, we handle electric run heating in our home.

Another way to save money in the winter is to invest in new windows for your home.  This works well if you own your home!  Energy efficient windows may be a large investment at first, but well worth it for all the heat and cool air you keep in the home in the various seasons.  It makes the value of your home rise too, I'm sure.  We have one or two of those type windows in our house, and you feel nothing come in--it's great!  Other ideas for windows include putting blankets up to windows securely to keep the cold out and the heat in.  This falls in line with the plastic idea in my first post of this winter series.

Something to think about--many older houses don't have much in the line of insulation in the walls.  It's just the way they were made.  The newer homes have lots of insulation put in, and it makes a difference.  In older homes, maybe consider using wall hangings, like soft quilted kinds, to cover walls, especially outter walls that tend to get very cold.  Break out grandma's quilts or make some of your own to display, and you get decoration to suit your style as well as an added layer of insulation throughout the home.

A thought for indoor heating--the fireplace heaters.  They are good for extra added heating, and have the look of a fireplace.  You could possibly decorate them up for holidays as well--added bonus!

What other ideas do you have about keeping cozy in the winter?  Please feel free to share in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

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