With summer at our backs, we are all anticipating the freezing and dreary months ahead. For most college students that only means one thing: paying more for utilities. Many students living off campus experience the woes of paying for heat, but how do you make your college abode more cost effective? Here are a few tricks to help you save a few dollars on bills and keep a warmer house this winter.
Line the bottom of doors with towels, or get a draft snake for under the doors. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 percent to 30 percent of your total energy use in a season.
Plastic wrap your windows. For just a few dollars, pick up a window insulation kit at Target, Walmart, or any hardware store. Lining your windows with plastic is essentially adding a buffer against drafts and the extra still air space can give a nice boost to your home’s ability to hold heat.
According to a sales associate at the Duluth Home Depot, a good trick to finding drafty spots is to set a candle near the window or door to see if it is moving or blowing from the drafts. A windy day would work best. After you find the drafts you can move onto sealing them.
Weather stripping around the exterior of doors can help prevent those chills from entering your living area.
Reverse the ceiling fans in your house. Counterclockwise rotation produces a cooling breeze, while switching to clockwise makes it warmer. The warm air that pools near the ceiling—we all know hot air rises—is then circulated back into the living space. This can cut heating costs by as much as 10 percent.
Mind the thermostat. It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money. If there is a weekend where your house will be empty, be sure to lower the temperature of your thermostat. For every degree you lower the thermostat during the heating season, you will save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
“If you have, like, old-timey radiators, then there are things that you can put behind the radiator to help reflect the heat out,” said Adam Brinkman, assistant plumbing manager at the Hermantown Menards. “Like an aluminum foil, bubble wrap almost, that they can put behind the radiators.”
A lot of students bundle up and grin and bear the cold until well into November. With some tips and tricks to save a few bucks, hopefully more students can turn on the heat without worrying about their wallets.
BY KATIE LOKOWICH firstname.lastname@example.org