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Maintaining a Warm Home in a Declining Economy

How do you keep everyone warm without breaking the bank when energy bills are high, the economy is weak, and temps are below freezing? Finances play a significant role in family disaster preparedness, so the more money you can put in the bank, the better off you are.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get a programmable thermostat if you can afford it. You'll pay for it in your first month of savings, regardless of how cheap the average unit is.

  • Spend less money while no one is at home. Keep the thermostat set to a low temperature if the house is vacant for the most of the day due to everyone being at school or work. Set it to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the under-sink cabinets open to expose part of the plumbing to the warmth. Naturally, if you have indoor dogs, make them feel at ease.

  • Set the temperature to a more comfortable level while people are at home and active.

  • Before going to bed, set the temperature to about 68 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust it slightly higher or lower depending on how many family members use electric blankets.

  • Seal off infrequently used rooms. To reduce drafts from that area, close the heat/AC vents, maybe by covering them with plastic, and place a towel over the bottom of the door. Leave the curtains and blinds open if the room is on the sunny side of the home to take advantage of natural heat from the sun.

  • Keep the blinds and drapes closed if the room is on the shady side of the house to reduce drafts from the window. You may also consider covering the window with plastic sheets.

  • In extreme weather or scenarios when you may not have heat or power, crowd as many people as possible into a room and do everything you can to heat only that area. However, there are a few words of caution: Don't allow anybody sleep on the floor since cold and carbon dioxide will settle there, don't heat the room with flame (and especially never with charcoal), and if you use a portable generator, make sure it's located outside the home and the area surrounding it is adequately ventilated.


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