Heating costs are expected to surge this winter. While you can’t control utility prices, there are several things you can do to minimize your heating bill. Here’s some advice that should help you stay cozy through winter without burning through too much cash.
Seal up air leaks
Small air leaks in your home can add up on your energy bill. These are common around door frames, windows, light fixtures, wall switches, outlets and attics. To check for leaks, light a candle and hold it near suspected areas to see if the flame flickers. Any leaks you find can often be sealed with caulk or weather stripping. If your windows need extra help holding in heat, a plastic window film kit can be a cheap and effective solution for the season.
Keep your heat running efficiently
Taking good care of your home’s heating system can help squeeze some savings out of its performance. This includes replacing any air filters as often as the packaging recommends to prevent dirty filters from overworking air blowers. If you have a furnace, an annual inspection by a qualified technician is often recommended to ensure it’s running safely and efficiently.
Close unused vents
Don’t waste heat on parts of your home you rarely use. If you have a guest bedroom, storage room or other space that doesn’t need to be kept warm, close off its heating vent. If you have a fireplace, be sure to close its damper when not in use as well. In regions with freezing weather, ensure any rooms with plumbing stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent pipes from freezing.
Open and close your drapes
Smart use of your home’s window treatments can have a big impact on your heating bill. When the sun is shining, open your shades, blinds or curtains so the sunlight can warm your home. Windows can let out as much as 25% of your home’s heat, so after the sun sets, close your window treatments to help trap the heat inside. Honeycomb shades, heavy curtains or other insulated treatments are best at helping maintain your home’s temperature.
Set ceiling fans in updraft mode
Ceiling fans aren’t just for keeping cool in the summer. During the winter, switching your fans to run in updraft mode will help draw cold air off the floor and push warm air from the ceiling back down to living level. This can be particularly useful in rooms with high ceilings. Fans should have a switch to reverse their spin between downdraft mode for summer and updraft mode for winter. Be sure to run your fan on lower setting so it doesn’t cause a chill with a strong breeze.
Lower the thermostat
One of the most effective ways to reduce your heating bill is simply by lowering the temperature on your thermostat. ENERGY STAR recommends a temperature of 68 degrees for a balance between comfort and savings. If that’s too chilly for you, even after donning some cozy household attire, you can experiment to find a compromise that works for you. You can also try turning down the thermostat while your household is asleep or away at work or school – just limit adjustments to no more than one per eight hours to avoid overworking your heating system. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, consider investing in one to help make these adjustments a snap.