Watt’s Your Future Worth?: Survive winter’s chill with energy efficiency

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Winter chills hit St. George abruptly this season, and it doesn’t seem as though they will be going away.

It’s that time of year to not only figure out what you’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving dinner, but to also winterize your closets, homes, cars and any other thing you may possibly need to keep warm.

I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing mixed feelings over this, you know, anxiously waiting for the first snow yet frustrated with trying to figure out what type of clothing is proper for the season.

Turns out our homes and cars may be feeling (if any of those things could actually feel) the same way.

As humans we dress in warm clothes in an effort to keep our bodies and blood warm so that we don’t waste all of our energy shivering.

Try taking a class in the Jennings Building – by the end of the hour your muscles may be sore from shivering so much. Also, you’ll probably be so worn out from trying to stay warm that you’ll want to curl up in a nice, warm blanket and take a nap.

When it gets cold outside, energy use increases not only in our bodies, but in our cars and homes as well. An increase in energy use is OK. Let’s just try not to let it skyrocket.


Don’t let drafts come in under the doors. Whether you put a plush rug in front of the door or buy a door guard designed to keep the cool air out, just be sure to do exactly that.

Use your ceiling fans. They aren’t intended for only cooling. Put the fan on reverse; doing so will pull the air towards the ceiling and recirculate it, which will in turn warm your home.

Most of all, don’t be a baby by cranking your thermostat up. According to Popular Mechanics, you’ll save one to three percent on your heating bill for every degree you decrease your thermostat by.


Driving with a cold engine can decrease your fuel efficiency by 12 percent. Each time the car sits parked is another chance for the engine to get cold. Combine your short, quick trips around town into one longer trip. Combing trips will keep the engine warm, making it more fuel efficient.  

If you have a garage, park in it. That might mean doing a little organizing, but it is worth it to have your car indoors during the winter months.

Remember last time when I told you to be tough and only warm your car up for five minutes instead of 20? Now, I’m asking you to be even tougher. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend driving just 30 seconds after the vehicle is started.

Next time you get your oil changed, replace it with the oil your manufacturer recommends for winter use. Generally speaking a thinner oil in the winter will perform better than the thicker oil used the majority of the time.