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2023 Preparedness - Wednesday Wisdom: Week 45

November 8, 2023

It’ll soon be winter weather and the economy has gotten nothing but more complicated and more expensive. There are things to do now to be better prepared to handle the added expense.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, the average cost of home heating is estimated to increase by 17.8% since last winter’s heating season.

1. Review your budget…plan for an increase this year. Once you know what is coming you are better prepared to deal with the increase. Even if your power bill is only $100 per month, and I don’t know whose is that low, this means an increase of $17 a month or $204 a year. That is a significant hit to the budget. If you are prepared now for the increase, you will have time to make adjustments to your lifestyle and to other areas of the budget to help offset the increase.

2. Get an energy audit. Utility companies and heating and air companies will provide these for no or minimal cost. Once you have an audit you will know where you need to add insulations or weather stripping.

3. Buy now. If you heat with oil or propane the prices will be lower now. We have seen the price of oil increase quickly.

4. Invest in a programmable thermostat. A Department of Energy study found that changing the thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day you could save up to 10% a year. A programmable thermostat can help so you don’t need to remember to turn it down every night or every time you leave for work. You can set your thermostat to turn down an hour before bed and up an hour before you get up or arrive home from work warming things up. Turn it down when sleeping and when leaving the house for more than an a few hours.

5. Turn down the water heater. A typical water heater is 140 degrees, and manually

reducing it to 120 degrees can save up to 11% in water heating costs, according to the California Energy Commission. Reducing shower times can also help, cutting them in half can save up to 33%.

6. Use an electric blanket and flannel sheets. A simple solution for keeping warm while still lowering the thermostat.

7. Wear footed Jammies. Children often kick off blankets as they toss around in their sleep. Don’t raise the thermostat, get warmer pajamas. As an adult when living in a cold climate, I loved my footed jammies, which kept me warm while watching TV at night and while sleeping.

8. Use your ceiling fan. Add ceiling fans to all bedrooms, good for summer heat and winter cold. Did you know you can change the direction your ceiling fan spins? Changing it so the blades rotate clockwise will help move the heat trapped near the ceiling down the walls and around the room. One of the latest Biden administration’s objectives is getting rid of ceiling fans. They say they use too much power. Really? They use far less than air conditioners. I’d hate to live without my ceiling fans. This summer has proven how much we all need them, even in Washington state and Oregon, not just in southern states. Ceiling fans are on clearance now.

Get started today by making changes or purchasing items that will make the winter more comfortable and less expensive. While there is a cost now the savings will continue year after year. Do what you can now and save for future additions.

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