Winters in the usually sunny and mild climate of the Texas Hill Country can sometimes get a little cold. It’s not New York City cold (not by a longshot!) but it’s not as toasty as, say, July.
In the master-planned community of MorningStar, located north of Austin, near Georgetown, the new homes have access to ATMOS natural gas, state-of-the-art engineering, insulation and appliances, all of which help residents save a ton of money on utilities during the winter months. However, there are still some small things that can help homeowners save money and stay warm in the winter.
These tips are not expensive, and most don’t require purchasing any new appliance, fans, or insulation. In most cases, they are just simple changes in daily activities. However, when they are added up, some real money can be saved on utility costs.
8 Ways to Make Your Home Warm in the Winter
1. Change the Spin Direction of the Ceiling Fan
Most new homes or even older homes in the Southwest have ceiling fans. According to this article, Spinning counterclockwise, fans move air around the room. However, “the fans do help bring heated air down to earth in rooms with cathedral or high-sloped ceilings if you slide the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the winter (clockwise) position. Then run the fan at its slowest speed. If you can’t reverse the blade rotation or if you think the fan is cooling off the room too much, leave it off.”
Even in well-designed, modern homes such as those in MorningStar, simply changing the direction of ceiling fans can help spread the warmth around.
2. It’s Close-the-Flue Season
According to the experts at “This Old House, “An open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape up the chimney as a wide-open 48-inch window lets out. Make sure your flue is closed when you don’t have a fire going. It is a good idea to reduce the number of times you use your fireplace.
3. Move the Furniture
It seems simple, but many homeowners have furniture blocking heat. The experts note that “a couch, chair, or bed moved during the summer stays there in winter, blocking the flow of heat into the room. This wastes money and leads to cold rooms. With a forced-air system, blocking a supply or return vent can cause a house-wide pressure imbalance that disrupts the heat flow in the whole system.”
4. Stop the “Stack Effect”
“Heat a building, and the rising hot air will pull cold air from outside into the house,” according to this article. “It’s a physical principle called ‘stack effect.’ To defeat it, cut down on spaces where cold air can enter your house, like under a door to the outside.”
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Technology has come to even the most mundane home appliances – even thermostats. While many MorningStar homes have programmable thermostats, if your home doesn’t, they are inexpensive and easy to install. This ingenious gizmo allows a homeowner to preset temperatures for different times of the day. Why? Because it’s not necessary to keep the home at 68 degrees around the clock. It is suggested that one “should choose a setting on the low end when you’re sleeping or are away and go with a higher setting at other times for savings of between 10 and 20 percent of your bill. Some units can store up to four temperature settings each day — e.g., morning, day, evening, night. All have a manual override switch.”
6. Adjust the Drapes to Save Big $
Using drapes as a heat “control” is one of the simplest techniques to save money in the winter. Open them during the day to get free solar heat then close them just before sunset. This is a simple insulation trick, and it can help keep daylight heat coming in and indoor heat from escaping at night.
7. Change the Furnace Filter Monthly
Experts note that replacing an inexpensive (and yet dirty) filter can save up to 5 percent on energy in the winter and keep the dust down in the house.
8. Save Water – Take a Shower
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average bath consumes up to 25 gallons of hot water, while a five-minute shower uses up much less — only around 10 gallons. By lowering the temperature on a water heater in the winter (from 140 to 120 degrees), even more savings are possible.
It All Starts With a Well-Constructed Home
The builders in MorningStar are some of the best in the business. They have helped their clients/homeowners save thousands of dollars each year by using cutting-edge engineering, energy-efficient appliances, and good, old fashion craftsmanship in the building process.
Click here to come to take a look. We think you’ll develop a warm spot for this beautiful community.