Most Texans have an elaborate battle plan for saving on cooling costs in summer, but they rarely give winter heating bills a thought.

There are electricity saving ideas for all seasons. Knowing how to keep a home warm improves the quality of life and saves money for things, like new pickup trucks, that are more fun to buy.

If you Google search “how to keep home warm,” you’ll come across lots of great tips for Canadians and Finns. Let’s stick with practical ideas for Texas.

The right thermostat

It’s a sorry state of affairs when our household gadgets have outsmarted us, but that’s where we stand.
One of the best ways to stay toasty warm is to install a smart thermostat. This electricity-saving device learns your heating preferences and adjusts accordingly. You can program it to warm the house on your way home from work, channel heat into the most-used rooms, and scale back operation when you’re asleep or away.
Modern thermostats aren’t cheap, but they save a fortune in the long run.

Proper heat flow

Some tips to keep the home warm won’t cost you a penny. One is to reverse your ceiling fan direction to clockwise. That forces the warm air up high downward into the room. The opposite is true for summer.

Here are more ways to save on electricity by harnessing heat:

• Close the doors and vents in unused rooms. Don’t forget about closet doors and even kitchen cabinet doors. Shut them when you’re not using them.

That’s great advice unless there’s an apocalyptic ice storm that could result in frozen pipes. Use common sense.

• Make sure that vents aren’t blocked by furniture, houseplants, or debris.

• Keep the chimney flue and draft closed when you’re not using your fireplace.

• When you turn off your oven, leave the door ajar until the oven cools.

Sufficient insulation

It’s almost impossible to save on electricity without enough insulation. If you suspect that yours is no longer up to the job, schedule an inspection.

Here are some do-it-yourself ideas:

• Make sure that your attic access is well-sealed.

• Wood, stone, and tile floors look great, but invest in some warm, cozy rugs. This is especially true if your house doesn’t have a basement and sits directly on a slab.

• In prolonged, extreme cold weather, cover your windows with heavy blankets.


Speaking of windows, that’s where a lot of heat comes and goes. Follow these tips:

• Run your hand around the perimeters of your windows to make sure they’re well sealed. Repair cracks and gaps.

• On sunny days, uncover windows that face south.

• Consider installing insulating window shades. Sure, they sound unattractive, but you’ll be surprised. There are some nice-looking shades in a variety of colors, and you can have them custom-made.

• Along the same lines, insulating curtains prevent heat loss and reduce noise pollution to boot.

Finally, don’t pooh-pooh throw blankets, thick socks, and warm, fuzzy scarves. It’s remarkable how much difference they make when you’re reading or watching TV.

Texas may have a shorter, milder winter than most places, but you can still save energy and money if you’re paying attention.