I was super excited that Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck (our nations more formidable marmot meteorologists) concurred that we would have six more weeks of winter.  This means that our residents will continue to be frustrated by their heating costs.  Even in Sunny California with our heat wave, residents have seen their bills go up and have expressed distress about their rising costs.  I, too, open my heating bill like I am finding out who the “Best Actress” Oscar award winner is going to be.  “Oh please, oh please!”   

I know that few things can be done to the building envelope on an existing building (which is a fancy pants way of saying the walls, insulation, windows, layout of the building, etc.).  However, there are still opportunities to make our units and homes a little warmer through behavior and minor modifications.  

Option 1:  Get Thermal Drapes.  Fear not–you don’t have to buy these directly from NASA.  You can get them at most department stores.  They are insulated, and can be pretty attractive too.  Thermal drapes can reduce your heating bill by about 20%, making for a fairly sexy ROI (Return On Investment).

 Option 2:  Use the Sun!  During winter’s daylight hours, open your drapes or blinds to let the sunshine in.  This way you can warm your unit using what nature gave you.  However, you must remember to close your blinds when the sun goes down or you will undo all your good doing.

 Option 3:  Make sure when you cook, you don’t boil stuff.  Using your oven is fun and creates a dry heat in your home and in our units.  When you boil water and such, you create moisture and humidity which can actually reduce the temperature in the living space even though you would think that cooking would create more heat.  Think bagel bites, not macaroni and cheese! 

I hope this helps.  Feel free to ask questions or add to the list of things you can do to improve the heating of our units.

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