Worried about your heating bill this winter? Here’s what you can do to keep it down.
Do some home maintenance.
There are times when you need to spend so you can save, and this is one of them. Hiring a professional to have a look at your furnace can cost between $100 and $200, but it will help you identify and fix any problems with your heating system that may affect its efficiency.
In the same way, you should change your air filters at the start of the cold season and at least once during the winter. Air filters go for about $15, but if you don’t mind the expense, go for a more efficient model at $20 or $30.
New filters may not save a lot of money, but they will help your unit last longer and be more efficient.
In addition, you’ll want to take a look at your ductwork. Fixing leaks in it will require a professional, but it will save you lots of money every year. Heat duct leaks can dissipate as much as 30% of your heated air, which is a significant amount.
Tip: If you’ve had your heating unit for a long time, it might be time to have it replaced. Although the initial cost might seem too high, you’ll be amazed at how quickly new-generation furnaces can pay for themselves compared to obsolete models.
There may also be tax incentives you can claim if you’re willing to replace your old unit with a high-efficiency furnace.
Insulate your home
Feel for air currents around windows, pipes, doors, and electrical and cable outlets, and close them off with draft blockers and outlet sealers. You should ensure your door and window strippings are in excellent condition.
When it gets cold, these materials tend to shrink, leaving gaps for heated air to escape. You can hire a professional to fix these gaps for around $250 or do it yourself if you have the time.
You should insulate your walls and attic too. It will lower your heating costs by limiting heat-loss through your house’s walls. The amount of insulation you should use will depend on your location and which parts of your home you intend to insulate.
Use the most efficient heating methods.
While it may seem wise to turn off your furnace in favor of a seemingly cheaper option, like a concentrated space heater, it’s very inefficient. A furnace always works better.
In the same way, everyone loves a large fire, but it’s one of the least efficient ways to heat your home.
The fire may be ok for aesthetic appeal, but remember to close your damper and flue when the fireplace is out of use. Besides being an entry point for pests, these openings allow hot air to leave your house.
Lower the thermostat
If you feel that you’re spending too much on heating, it could be because you’re using too much heat. Your thermostat should be at 68 degrees during the day and 60 at night. If it feels too cold, get warm clothing. Sure, it might cause some arguments, but it will definitely reduce your bill.
You should also consider turning off the heat while you’re at work. Consider getting a smart thermostat. You can arrange for it to activate half an hour before you get home, so the house will be warm and cozy by the time you arrive.
It can shave up to 20% off your bill. That’s about enough to cover the cost of getting a smart thermostat in 12 months.
Use a Humidifier
Water retains heat much better than air. So, increasing your house’s humidity (the air’s water content) will make it feel much warmer without any changes to your thermostat.
Although it’s recommended to keep moisture out of the house during summer, the opposite is true during winter. Adding moisture to the air helps your home remain warm and comfortable.
Reverse your ceiling fans
Running your ceiling fans backwards will keep warm air close to the floor. Most ceiling fans have switches you can use to reverse the direction of rotation, so it shouldn’t be too hard. It’s best to use a slow fan speed that will gently push warm air down without creating unpleasant gusts of air.
Find better rates
Do you feel like you’re spending too much on gas and electricity? Look around for a better deal. If you live in a deregulated state (deregulated states allow private companies to invest in transmission lines and power generation facilities), this significantly reduces the cost of energy for the final consumer).
Cook at home
Besides helping you save money on restaurant and transport bills, cooking at home can reduce your heating bill. Your oven’s heat will radiate throughout your pantry and keep it warm. Once you’re finished cooking, switch off the oven but leave the door slightly ajar so warm air can escape into the room.
Let nature help
Open your curtains during the day. Let the sunlight in so it can warm your home, then close your curtains at night to trap the heat. Keep the trees and shrubs on the sides of your home pruned to maximize sunlight exposure.
Seal off unused rooms
If you’re currently living in a large home, it may have extra rooms that aren’t in use. There’s no need to heat these areas, so you can close them off to save money.
You should also close off the vents leading to those rooms. Just fix a towel or draft blocker beneath the door, and you should be good to go.
Note: do not let unused rooms get too cold, mainly if water pipes are passing through. While they shouldn’t be as hot as the rooms currently in use, don’t let them get colder than 40 degrees, as they will likely freeze.
Heating can be expensive, but these tips will definitely make your bill more manageable. With a few smart investments and a little tweaking, you’ll see a dramatic decline in your heating fee.