While Snowmageddon may have been "snow-verrated", there's no denying that the temperatures have been less than tropical of late.
And, according to a recent Direct Energy survey, conducted by Polaris Marketing Research, less than one-third of Ontarians felt their households were prepared for extreme weather. (As an aside, I can state that 90 per cent of my wardrobe is not prepared for extreme weather.)
“By implementing a few easy changes, which don’t include wearing a snowsuit indoors, consumers can lower their energy usage now and throughout the year," says Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas, Direct Energy. "An extreme drop in temperature doesn’t mean your bank balance should drop too due to higher energy bills."
And how are we doing at keeping bills down and staying warm at home? About 85 per cent of Ontarians bundle up during extreme cold, 56 per cent close shades and blinds to minimize heat loss and half close registers, doors and vents in rooms that are not being used.
Here are some ways to keep things comfy and cozy indoors, even when the weather outside is frightful:
1. Bundle up. Guard against chills with an extra sweater or blanket. Throw in a cup of hot chocolate and a favourite movie to make staying in even nicer.
2. Clear it. Max out your heating by keeping vents clear of rugs, drapes and furniture.
3. Use it or lose it. Shut the doors and vents in unused rooms to conserve energy, and dollars. If you have a chimney, conserve heat by closing the flue when the wood-burning fireplace isn't in use.
4. Program it. No one wants to heat an empty house all day, but no one wants to come home to freezing temps either. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to lower your home's temperature when you're away or sleeping - and raise it when you're on your way home.
5. Lock it down. Sealing leaks around doors, windows, letter boxes or keyholes with weather stripping and caulking could save up to $108 per year - and reduce indoor drafts.
6. Stay safe. To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, keep all venting clear of snow, and install CO detectors in or outside of all bedrooms in your home. If you already have detectors, check their expiry dates (they generally last about five years) and replace if necessary.