For many of us, four-legged companions are part of the family, and we can’t imagine life without them. That’s why during the winter months, we make sure our whole family, including our four-legged members, is cozy — without taking a big “bite” out of our budget.
Here are a few simple ways you can make your home more comfortable this winter, which can ultimately help you save on energy bills:
At the onset of the cold weather season, replace the HVAC filter for better air quality and to help the unit operate more efficiently. You can also keep your home cozier by caulking and weather stripping windows and doors. If your home is particularly chilly, you can tape or affix heavy, clear plastic to the inside of your window frames to create an additional barrier against the cold. Ensure that the plastic is tightly sealed to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
We know winter can be “ruff,” so we set our thermostat at 68 degrees, a “purr-fect” temperature for people and pets. This is especially important for smaller, short hair and senior dogs — not just for warmth but for their general health. Puppies, kittens and older pets with arthritis or other ailments might have a harder time controlling their body heat and need the additional warmth when it’s chilly outdoors.
Pets that sleep close to the floor can be subject to cold drafts that enter your home through windows and exterior doors. If your pet’s bed is near a window or door that feels drafty, tightly roll up a towel and place it near the bottom of the door or window to eliminate the draft. Cutting down on cold drafts helps everyone feel more comfortable during colder months.
If possible, elevate your pet’s bed so it’s not placed directly on a cold floor. An old chair or sofa cushion works well. If you don’t use a dog bed, take some old blankets and create a donut shape on the cushion so the dog can snuggle and “nest” within the blanket. You can do the same for cats but on a smaller scale. Blankets give pets places to nestle even when they aren’t tired and provide comfortable spots for dogs and cats to curl up.
During the day, open your blinds and curtains to allow sunlight to warm your home. Close window coverings at night for an added layer of insulation.
Your local electric cooperative wants to help you save energy and money. Visit tnelectric.org/efficiency for additional energy-saving tips.
We can’t control the weather, but we can provide advice to help you save energy and keep your family and furry friends more comfortable during the winter season.