This post is part of the Advent Calendar series

Think Twice Before Turning Up The Heat

By Chris Ogden

This winter season, think twice before turning up the heat: can you bundle up instead? Reducing your heating expenses is good for both your bank account and the environment.

In terms of cost, the average electricity bill was about $110/month in New York State in 2020. I expect this expense is even higher for many households in Walton, given that this figure includes a lot of people living in small apartments in NYC. Additionally, NPR wrote in 2007 that “In colder states, heating can account for up to two-thirds of your annual energy bills, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). And, on average, heating an American home with natural gas produces about 6,400 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2, a major warming gas). Use electricity, and CO2 emissions average about 4,700 pounds.” While the emissions of a single household are a small part of the whole, it is imperative that everyone do their part to reduce emissions. Climate change is real, it is here, and it will have increasing impacts on the viability of life on much of this planet.

If your house is still feeling cold even after bundling up, there are other things you can do to keep the heat inside. If your budget allows, replace old windows with more energy-efficient models. If that's not a possibility, it can help just to cover those old windows up with thick curtains (blankets also work great!), just be sure to let the sunlight in during the day.