Warming Your Home Instead of The Planet

With a new baby at home, it’s tempting to crank up the heat on these cold November days.  When the energy bill arrives, however, it can be shocking to see how an increase of just a few degrees on the thermostat can impact the utility bill and your energy output.  Since heating the home takes up about half of a family’s energy costs each month, finding a few ways to cut back can make a huge difference in your expenses and your carbon footprint.

  •  Don’t heat what you don’t use:  If you want baby to stay extra warm, you can heat up her room and keep the rest of the house a bit cooler.  Close the doors to unused rooms and turn the thermostat to 55 degrees to avoid mildew.
  • Bundle up: You don’t need to forgo comfort to save the planet.  Just throw on an extra layer and snuggle your baby into a warm blanket.  A reduction of just three degrees can save you five percent on your heating bill—but remember you can still keep baby’s room warm if you’d like. Decrease your overall house temperature by one degree each week to adjust gradually.  Setting your thermostat just two degrees lower over the course of a year will save an impressive 2,000 pounds in CO2 emissions.
  • Turn down the heat when you’re gone: You may have fallen prey to the myth that it takes more energy to heat up a cold house than to leave the heat running.  Wrong!  Turning the heat down while away from home or sleeping always saves energy.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater: Having the temperature for hot water set to higher than 120 degrees is both wasteful and dangerously hot.  Simply turning down the water heater will cut your energy use by six percent—and you’ll probably never even notice the difference!
  • Make sure your home is well insulated:  After four years of incredibly high energy bills, my brother just learned that his house does not have insulation!  He has been pouring heat (and carbon emissions) into the air and money out the window.   Believe it or not, good insulation makes more of a difference than having solar panels on your home.  It’s the least expensive and most effective thing you can do to save energy.  Many local utility companies will do energy audits to check whether your home is well insulated.

What have you done to keep your family’s heating bills in check?  Those of you who live in frigid areas must have some tips for limiting energy costs while keeping baby comfy.  Please share your wisdom with the rest of us!

We’d also like to announce that the winner of our My Little Pakora giveaway is Terra Jones from The Jones Journey.  Thanks for entering Terra! 

For more Thrifty Green Thursday tips, check out the links below.  If you’d like to join us this week click here to get started.  Thanks for visiting!


  1. It’s somewhat of a curse to have no central heating, but we do pretty well since we only heat the rooms we are using. During the winter our electric bill doesn’t exceed $100.

    There seems to be an issue with Mister Linky, it’s missing!? haha Although, I checked and realized that it’s an issue on my blog too. It’s missing from the giveaway I’m doing now!

  2. We really need to replace the windows in our house, but can’t afford it right now. In the meantime, we keep our shades down as much as possible to keep heat in.

  3. I think you covered things pretty well. We do live in a cold area , Northern MN and so heat is off course a big issue. Something that people do around here who don’t have good windows is to cover them with plastic. There is special plastic you can buy which makes it so you can still see out of your windows.
    We are very blessed to live in a home that has many nice southern facing windows which really draw in the heat in the winter time. In the summer time we have leaves which shade them so it works out fine then as well.
    I think the bundle up tip is an especially good one. I would add ~ Wear shoes or slippers. When you go around in bare or stocking feet you tend to want it to be quite a bit warmer. Also add more blankets to the beds. Nightime is an especially good time to reduce the heat.
    Another tip is to stay active. When I am busy working (not at the computer but running around the house!) I can live in a lot lower temperatures.

  4. We keep our heat very low in the winter (usually around 60). This is our first year with a baby, but we’re just keeping him bundled up. So far it’s working fine, although we haven’t had many really cold days yet. At night he’s in his footsie pajamas and then also inside a sleep sack. Once he wakes up in the early morning, I change his diaper and put him in bed with us, wearing just his diaper and diaper cover. he gets very warm just from snuggling with us.

  5. Heat is a huge deal! We are blessed to have a thermostat that allowsus to set it for 4 different temps each day, so it is set down to 55 at night, bumps up to 66 for 2.5 hours in the morning while everyone is getting ready, back down to 60 while it’s just me at home, and back to 66 for the hour before bedtime. If it gets unbearably cold during the day, I can always flip the fireplace on for 5 minutes to chase the chill away.

    Another bonus that I have discovered is that the days that I am using my oven, the house is very toasty! I bake all of our bread, and that bumps the oven to 450, but when the bread is done, I open up the oven door and let that heat warm the house instead of sending it outside.

    And yes, everyone knows that when coming to out house, bring an extra sweatshirt (or 2!) because it’s colder here. My SIL brings her slippers now too, but then her house is kept at 70F “for the babies” which are now 2 & 4… yes, her house is HOT!

  6. I have to confess that I’m a total whimp when it comes to extremely cold temperatures. After reading all the ways that you have been so careful with your thermostats I’m inspired to go even further. Right now we keep the rooms we use around 68 degrees since our son likes to run around naked quite a bit. Still, with a few extra measures we could reduce the thermostat temp by a few degrees and bring down our emissions AND our utility bill. Thanks for the tips!

  7. i have a pair of winter-camping down booties that i rock indoors all winter to stay warm without cranking the heat. they look ridiculous but do the trick, and i got them for cheap on clearance in the campmor catalog. amazing!

  8. We do a lot of what you do. My mother-in-law replaced the original (1920) windows in our apartment upstairs. While I was sad to see the unique windows leave, the apartment has been so much warmer since they were replaced with newer insulated windows. I also leave the oven door open after baking(if no kids are around) to let out the warm air. Thanks for the great tips!

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