The chill of winter brings new life to Bend, Oregon with winter sports and the spirit of the holidays. As the thermometer begin to drop, it’s important to winterize your home to save energy and make warming up easier on you and your pockets this season.

Preparing general areas for winter

Seal up drafts

While small cracks may seem harmless, these openings allow heat to escape and cold air to sneak in. Stand near windows, doors, and electrical outlets to check for drafts and seal up the gaps using caulking, insulated outlet covers and weather strips.

Since hot air rises, much heat loss can be attributed to the attic. Be sure to insulate the area and close off entryways well before winter.

Block off empty rooms

Avoid heating spaces that will remain unoccupied throughout the season by closing the doors and vents to empty rooms.

Reverse the ceiling fan direction

Because warmer air concentrates near the ceiling, changing the direction of your ceiling fan’s rotation can push hot air downward without cooling the room.

Clean and clear away blockages

Situate furniture away from vents to increase the air flow throughout the room. Replace your vent and furnace filters regularly so that air passes easily into the space without dispersing harmful particles.

Using the kitchen as a heat source

Not only does cooking at home reduce your financial burden, but heat from the stove and oven naturally warms your home. After using your oven, leave the door open a crack to let the heat escape into the room.

Optimizing the water system for the cold

Reduce the hot water heater temperature

Due to the cold air, you’ll likely be satisfied with warm water. Avoid scalding yourself and lower your bill by reducing the max water setting.

Cover the water heater with an insulated blanket

Don’t make your water heater work against the cold outside temperatures. Covering the heater with an insulated blanket helps to aid in the warming and maintenance of water conditions.

Install a water efficient shower head

High shower streams can waste more water and money than regular baths. Implement a water-saving shower head to lower your water bill while helping the planet.

Setting the thermostat during winter months

Only heat to the necessary temperature

Set your thermostat 1 or 2 degrees above the temperature at which you begin to feel cool. This setting will keep you comfortable without running up your energy costs.

Consistency equals efficiency

Instead of turning the air on and off, keep the house set at consistently low temperature. It wastes more energy to reheat or cool down your entire home than to keep the air level.

Additions around the house

Replacing sheer spring and summer curtains with thicker drapes keeps hot air in and cold air out. Fill your home with blankets so that you can maintain a moderate temperature while still being cozy.

Capitalize on sunlight

Open exposed windows during the day to let the sun heat up the room but remember to close them at night.

You’ll want to start making these updates to your home now, so you aren’t caught off guard when the season changes. Conserving energy not only reveals itself in your bill cycle, but also in your environmental impact. And when all else fails, nothing warms you up like a nice mug of hot cocoa and warm wool socks and a cozy blanket.