Going into winter, the fear of higher gas or electric bills is a given. The colder it gets in the winter, the more you’ll have to use your heat. Whether you’re using forced air heating, an electric heat pump, or an oil-based heating system, there are simple changes you can make that will help you cut your heating costs this winter.
Turn the Thermostat Down
It’s estimated that each degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter will save 3% on your heating bill. While this might not seem like a huge amount, it will definitely add up. Leaving your house at 68 degrees might mean wearing a sweater around the house, but it will make financial sense when you see your heating bill. You could also turn the heat down further at night to save even more.
If everyone is at work or school during the day, there’s no need to keep the house all that warm. Turning the heat down to 55 degrees will keep your water pipes from freezing and really cut down your energy use at the same time. A programmable thermostat can take care of this automatically and have your home warm by the time people start to come home. If you’re going to be home on a day you’d normally be at work or school, you can just override the thermostat to remain comfortable.
Get Your Heating System Serviced
Changing your furnace filter on a regular basis is a great way to ensure that it operates at a high level of efficiency. Another step to take that’s related to preventive maintenance is calling up an HVAC technician to service your HVAC annually. A technician can look at the component parts of your furnace and let you know if something needs to be replaced. Fixing a problem early can keep your system running for years to come, and it will likely keep your heating system operating at a higher level of efficiency.
A drafty house is going to be an expensive house to heat. Some houses will have gaps where pipes run into them. Spraying some foam insulation into these holes will cut down on heat loss substantially. Additionally, just about any house will have some gaps around doors and windows. Even small gaps can lead to massive heat loss. It’s believed that about one-third of heat in a house is lost through drafty doors and windows.
Adding some weather stripping or caulking on doors and windows can help you avoid much of this heat loss. Shutting off the flue on a fireplace when it’s not in use can also cut down on energy costs over time. Taking out a room air conditioner that sits in a window out can also lower the energy bill. Window units don’t always fit well, and they can lead to a drafty room. By taking steps to keep heat in a house, you’ll be able to run your heating system less.
Look at Your Windows
One way to cut down on your heating bills simply requires opening the curtains on the south-facing wall of your home. In the winter, the sun will be low in the southern sky during the day. This means its rays should shine brightly through your windows. Leaving them open will ensure that you take advantage of the sun’s warmth to complement your HVAC.
You’ll want to shut the curtains or blinds after the sun goes down. Leaving them open will allow the cold from the outdoors to creep into your home, and this will lead to needing to run the heat more. Leaving the curtains on the north side of the house closed during the winter will help keep more heat in as well.
Add Some Insulation
If you’ve never done it, you might want to look in your attic to check out the insulation. Much of a home’s heat will be lost through the roof because heat rises. Using some spray foam insulation between the rafters or trusses can cut down on the heat loss. Additionally, it’s a good idea to spread some insulation right above the ceilings. If the heat has trouble getting to the roof in the first place, it won’t seep out and run your bills up.
Paying for heat can be really expensive depending upon where you live. You don’t have to sit and take whatever the bill is. You have to pay your bills when they come due, but by taking these five simple steps, you could see a meaningful cut to your heating bills this winter.