28 Apr

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on April 28, 2010

We’re in month four of our money-saving challenge. If you’ve been keeping up then you should be well on your way to saving up a minimum of £750 ($1200) before the end of the year. And if you haven’t joined us until now, that’s okay. You can still challenge yourself to save some money in new ways. This month’s challenge is actually fairly easy. All that we’re asking you to do to save money around your home is turn off your heat for April.

April’s Challenge: Turn off the Heat

The weather is starting to get warmer in many areas. This means that we can turn off the heaters in our homes to reduce our gas and electric bills. However, many of us have gotten used to living in a temperature-controlled home. We don’t turn the heat off until it’s basically time to turn on the cooler air in the building. In this month’s challenge, we ask you to find a way toturn off both the heat and the air conditioning or coolers. You’ll save energy around the house and your monthly utility bills should be considerably lower in cost.

How to Do It

The basics of turning off the heat to save money are obvious of course. Simply shut off your thermostat and don’t turn it back on. However, there are some other things that you might want to consider as you begin to start on this challenge:

  • Keep your winter clothes out for a little while longer. Many of us pack away our warm clothes at the first sign of spring. However, it helps you to have some warm sweaters within easy reach. That way you can easily layer on a warmer outfit while you’re home instead of turning on the heat to keep warm.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of blankets. The warmer that you keep yourself, the less tempted you will be to turn the heat on in the house to get warm on chilly nights. Make sure that there are plenty of blankets on the beds. Also make sure that you’ve got a few extra blankets lying around on couches and chairs.
  • Open and close your curtains. Open curtains during the day to let the sunshine come in to the home so it warms up naturally. Close the curtains at night to trap some of the heat inside to enjoy during the coldest hours of the evening.
  • Don’t turn on fans or cooler air as the weather warms up. In some places, it is starting to get really warm by the end of April. Stick to the full challenge by keeping the AC off as well as the heat. Open windows to get a cool breeze if you need one.

How Much You Can Save

Typically we aim to help you save £60 ($100) each month as a part of this challenge. However, whether or not you will actually save that much this month depends on how much heat you have been using in your home. Someone who works from home, is home all day and keeps the heat on all day can easily save this much by turning off the heat altogether. In contrast, a family that already uses the heat on only the coldest of nights might save a bit less.

Tips for Saving More

  • Towel dry your hair. Anyone with long hair knows that it’s tough to stay warm inside the house if you’ve got wet hair siting on your neck and making you chilly. The temptation here is to get out the hand dryer to blow dry your hair. This uses electricity, though. Instead, towel dry your hair well upon getting out of the shower. Then wrap it up in a towel or ponytail to keep it off of your neck as it finishes drying. Put on a sweater or robe to stay warm while you finish getting ready.
  • Turn down the water heater, too. You can save even more money on heating bills by making the water in your house just a little bit colder. A small decrease in temperature won’t affect your experience of the hot water in your home but it will make your bills get smaller. Using a low-flow shower head and/or shortening the amount of time you spend in a hot shower will further reduce these bills.

Things to Consider

Some people will need to take special things into consideration as they begin this month’s challenge. For example:

  • The coldest regions may need to postpone this challenge. If you live in a place that happens to still be particularly cold in April then you might want to postpone this challenge. See the alternatives below to find other ways to save money in April.
  • Don’t compromise your health. If it is cold in your area and the cold endangers your health (you are elderly, there is an infant in the house, you have a particular condition affected by this, etc.) then you shouldn’t do this challenge. Use an alternative instead.

Alternatives to the April Challenge

Some people won’t be able to do the April challenge because it’s too cold for them to give up heat. Others may find that the challenge doesn’t save them a lot of money because they don’t use a lot of heat during April anyway. In either case, here are some alternatives to the April challenge:

  • Turn down the thermostat instead of turning it off. You don’t have to shut off the heat entirely to save a little bit of money on your bill. Instead, you can choose to
  • Get a home energy audit. This will help you to find out how your heat and cool air are escaping from your home. This will save you a lot of money on future energy bills.

Other Blogs on Giving Up Heat to Save Money

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