Keeping our homes warm while staying mindful of our own budgets is a top concern when the temperatures drop, but don't touch that thermostat just yet.
A few simple tips can keep heat in your home and some extra cash in your pocket.
"In most homes, we have a reasonable amount of insulation, and reversing the ceiling fan can pull that heat off the attic and bring it down to a more useable level for you," explains Rudy Wright of Wright Way Services. But, if you don't have any insulation in your home, Wright says the ceiling fan switch won't help.
To conserve heat, Wright also suggests shutting the door to a spare bedroom you don't use, and making sure the damper on the chimney is closed after each use.
"Even if you've had a fire that day, when you're done and you let it burn totally out... make sure you shut your damper because all of that heat will go right out of your chimney stack," says Wright.
However, some of these changes must be made in moderation. For example, Wright says closing rooms to more than half of your home can cause damage to your heating system since it is programmed to heat a specific sized space.
Also, Wright suggests keeping an eye on the weather stripping on your outside doors. Wear and tear comes easily, but it costs less than $20 to fix.
"If you look at this door, you can see the gap that has been opened up by the dog begging to come in. Something like that could easily effect the temperature of that room of 5-10 or 15 degrees if it's a strong, breezy night," Wright demonstrates.
If you think you can feel a breeze coming through your window, chances are your single-strength glass just isn't cutting it.
"Putting a blanket up over [the window] will block that cold from transferring into your house and will make you a lot more cozy," he says.
There are also some things you definitely should not do to stay warm. Unfortunately, space heaters cause a lot of fires in East Texas during the winter. Space heaters left by curtains, furniture or blankets pose a fire hazard. Fire officials say nothing should come within three feet of a space heater.
The Tyler Fire Department also encourages people not to use extension cords with space heaters. Paul Findley, the Tyler Fire Department spokesperson says space heaters need to be plugged directly into the wall.
Findley also discourages using an oven or stove to heat up your house. He says some people do it and it's more than just a fire hazard.
"People that are using stoves and ovens as a heat source... that's not recommended. One, it can be a fire hazard, but especially on those gas appliances... it can be a hazard with carbon monoxide as well," Findley explains.
Each year, East Texas fire departments see an increase in house fires during the winter because people are trying to stay warm. Findley wants to remind everyone to test their smoke detectors. He says there should be a smoke detector in every room of the house where someone sleeps. Findley also encourages families to have multiple evacuation plans for different fire scenarios.
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