Most people use either gas or electric heat to stay warm in winter. Of the two, gas is by far the least expensive, but there are a few other ways to help supplement heat and keep costs down during the wintertime.
The first one is solar panels. For a while they were a big fad, but have slowly been forgotten about. Solar panels can be expensive, but once they are installed, all the heat you generate from them is free. Some people solely use solar to heat their water tanks and others use it to power electric heaters and more. This is not the best option for those who live in the Pacific Northwest, but high mountain climates like Boulder, Colorado and Sun Valley, Idaho that see a lot of sun can produce a lot of energy from the sun. Areas like California and Florida that do not get the frigid temperatures of the north and see a lot of sun will see a quick return on their investment than those who live in cloudy areas.
Concrete walls. Concrete has the ability to soak up sun and release it slowly over time. This is called passive solar energy, meaning you do not have to have any equipment for it to work. Concrete walls are built where they will absorb the sun from windows. At night, close the blinds and the concrete walls slowly release the heat they have been holding in.
Eco-heaters can help heat a room. They are 2 'by 2' ceramic squares that are mounted onto the wall. They heat up but are low voltage, using only 40 watts of electricity whereas most electric heaters use up to 1200 watts of electricity to operate. They are best used as a supplementary source of heat for those who live in cold climates. For those who live in more temperate areas, one square should be able to exceptionally heat a 12 “by 12” room with regular ceilings. The nice thing about these heaters is that while they produce a good amount of heat, they will not burn a child or dog if they bump into them.
Sealing doors and windows also helps save heat without costing a lot of money or energy. Doors should be sealed with weather stripping. Windows can be sealed in a variety of ways including plastic wrap that is blown-dry over the window, temporary grout that can be removed, double-pane windows, or insulating window treatments.
Turning the heat down at night by up to 10 degrees will also reduce heating bills. More than ten degrees is not as efficient because of the amount of energy it takes to warm the home up again. Programmable thermostats are the best bet for regulating temperature and can be set on a timer.
Insulating water heaters and / or having an energy efficient water heat in the home will help cut back on energy used to heat water.
With weather patterns fluctuating, some areas of the country are seeing abnormally cold temperatures for longer periods of time. Saving money and staying warm are a top priority for a lot of people. Use these tips to stay toasty.