Keep the cold out and your bills down this winter Posted: January 27, 2016 Updated: January 27, 2016

Embrace winter! Dress warmly, get outside and enjoy the sparkling snow and the infrequent but beautiful sunny, crisp days. This is a wonderful attitude to have, and one we should all strive for, but often the reality is a little less glamorous. Winter can be hard to get through. We don’t all have zero degree rated down jackets for enjoying the outdoors, and we must all go about our business in the cold regardless of how we spend our leisure time. At the end of a long day, after fighting blustery winds and frigid temperatures, hunkering down in our cozy homes sounds just right. But what if our homes aren’t cozy? What if cold is creeping in? OLHSA’s weatherization and energy efficiency expert Gary Warseke shares tips below on how to keep your home toasty and your energy use low this winter.


To keep winter out: 
  • Caulk all the gaps around windows and doors on the exterior of the house. This will prevent those freezing temps from seeping in and sending a chill up your spine, for just a few dollars at the home improvement store.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use, to keep drafts down. Just remember to open it again when you make a fire.
  • Weatherstrip doors and attic hatches. Any exit that leads to an un-insulated space should have a weatherstrip.
  • Close drapes at night to add extra insulation against the cold, and open them during the day, to allow the sun’s warmth to stream in.

To save energy and keep costs down:
  • Dry your clothes for only as long as they really need. Check a couple times during a cycle to learn how long it takes your average loads to dry, then set the dryer for exactly that time in the future.
  • Wash clothes in cold water.
  • Set your hot water tank to 120 degrees or less. This is a good safety tip as well, to prevent scalding.
  • Change all light bulbs to LED. They cost a little more now but they last upwards of 20 years.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
  • Keep refrigerator grills clean and keep the temperature between 37 and 40 degrees. Freezer temperatures should be set between zero and ten degrees.

For more information on OLHSA’s Weatherization Assistance Program visit www.olhsa.org/complete-services, or to get help preparing your own home for winter check out Affordable Assistance at www.affordableassistance.org/.