Do the Electric Slide
No, we’re not talking about the world-famous dance move. We’re talking about the energy you can save by keeping the heat generated by electric appliances inside your home. Much of the heat that is produced by computers, televisions, stereos and lamps can be lost to the outside if these appliances are placed next to a window or an exterior wall. So make the best use of that extra heat by hanging your LCD TV on an interior wall away from a window and make sure to move your computer, stereo and lamps away from exterior walls to conserve energy.
You may think it’s a good idea to place chairs, sofas and loveseats next to windows and doors to take advantage of the view, but this plan can backfire during the winter, as guests sitting next to a window will likely feel a cold draft. This means that you may turn the thermostat up higher than necessary to overcompensate for those cold spots, when the rest of the apartment is heated to a comfortable temperature. So arrange seating away from windows and doors during the winter to stay warmer while avoiding turning the thermostat up.
Clear Up Ducts and Vents
Be mindful of where you place a couch, bed, chair or other large furniture and make sure it’s not over a heating vent. The furniture will absorb some of the heat while slowing the flow of heat to the room or blocking it completely, making the heater work harder to compensate for the lost heat, a mistake you’ll pay for on your power bill. Even a misplaced rug can cause the heater to run sluggishly. The same applies for return air ducts, which are often located high up on a wall. Make sure not to cover up the return air duct with a bookcase or a painting.
While the health and well-being benefits of natural light and solar heat can’t be disputed, it’s actually better to keep blinds drawn and curtains shut on cold, dreary winter days. Doing so will help keep some of the heat inside your apartment, meaning you’ll have to run the heater less.
Double Duty Décor
You’d be surprised which household items have insulation value, however minimal. Hanging a large quilt or tapestry on your wall can help save energy, especially if it is on an exterior wall. Tall bookcases filled with books or magazines, if placed against an outside wall, can keep heat inside your home while preventing the cold from creeping in. Even large picture frames can slow the transmission of heat through exterior walls, so beef up your décor sense during the winter and you’ll see dramatic energy savings.
Photo credit: iStockphoto/phototropic