Heating your home during the cold winter months costs more money and uses more energy than any other system in your house.
Energy Saver – an office of the U.S. Department of Energy – notes that heating your house makes “up about 42% of your utility bill.”
Whether you’re on a tight budget, or simply trying to cut back on home expenses, there’s no need to suffer in a cold home this winter. The following tips can help you keep your house warm through the cold season, at a much lower cost.
The first thing on your list should always be proper maintenance of your heating equipment. Combine regular maintenance with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, and you could see a 30% savings on your energy bill.
It may seem silly, but adding another layer of clothing and putting on warmer socks can mean you are more willing to lower the thermostat in the winter. Not only will you save money on heating, but you’ll be prepared when you head outdoors.
Remember heat rises. So turn on your ceiling fan and set it to reverse. This will move the warmer air near the ceiling toward the lower level, and the living space. Running fans in reverse could save you around 10% on heating.
There’s no need to heat every single room in your house. Close the doors and vents in rooms you aren’t using. This will save you money and keep the rest of the house warmer.
Be sure the vents are open in the rooms you are using and make sure nothing is blocking the airflow, like furniture, dirty laundry, or other debris.
If you don’t plan on using your chimney, make sure the flue and draft are closed during the winter months. Open chimneys can draw the heat from your home. Fireplace inserts can help reduce heat loss.
Once you’re done using the oven, use the heat it has already produced, and open the door. This heat is normally wasted. Instead, open the oven door and allow the warm air into the rest of your kitchen.
The sun is a great source of light and heat, and best of all – it’s free. During the day, open your shades to allow the UV rays to heat your house.
If you can feel a draft of cold air seeping in from under your home’s doors, make a minimal investment in a draft blocker (usually around $10). They can help prevent the cold air from coming into the home.
Wrap hot water and radiator pipes, as well as ductwork, that runs through the house. Make sure you’re not losing heat as it travels through the house before it gets to the living spaces.
If you have radiators (or baseboard heating pipes) located on an external wall, place a piece of foil behind it to reflect the heat back into the home. You can do the same with ovens, wood stoves, and other sources of heat.
Hanging thicker curtains can protect your house from losing heat through the windows. Curtains with a thermal lining are a cheap investment and can save you in the long run. You can also use a blanket to line your existing curtains.
You can lose as much as 10% of your heat through uninsulated floors. Carpets and area rugs are a great way to reduce heat loss, while also keeping your feet nice and warm in the winter.
Seal any air that may be leaking out through cracks and gaps around windows by using caulk. It’s an inexpensive way to prevent heat loss.
It may be old school, but using a hot water bottle in bed at night can help you stay warm and also help you lower the thermostat.
During cold, winter months, change your sheets to flannel and use a down comforter. Both of these things will help you stay warm at night.
This one-time investment can pay off for years. Installing insulation in your attic or crawl space can help prevent heat loss and lower both your heating and cooling bills.
Investing in a programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for when you’re home and when you’re away. After all, there’s no need to heat the house when you’re at work.
Remember, there are cheap and natural ways to keep your heating costs down during the winter season. Start the season out right and schedule routine maintenance of your heating equipment to ensure you’re maximizing your savings this winter.