As temperatures drop, heating bills typically rise. Heating a home isn’t cheap, and if you want to save money on your bills this winter, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your heating costs while still being comfortable. Here are 10 tips to try.
1. Turn Down Your Thermostat
One of the best ways to save on your heating bill is simply to turn down the temperature a little bit. Try lowering it a few degrees when you’re home, and when you’re out or asleep, turn it down even more. Lowering the temperature by 7-10 F for eight hours per day can save you as much as 10 percent on your bill. For a more efficient way to control your heat, opt for a programmable or smart thermostat, which will adjust the temperature for you.
2. Let in the Sun
You’ve probably experienced how nice it feels to stand in a patch of sunlight on a cold day. Take advantage of the natural heat from the sun by opening the curtains on south-facing windows when the sun is shining. When it goes back down, close the curtains back up to prevent heat from escaping.
3. Fill in Any Gaps
If there are any gaps in the walls, ceilings or floors of your home, heat will leak out. Common places to find gaps are around doors, windows, fireplaces, power sockets and recessed light fittings. To check for gaps, feel around these places for drafts. You can also light a candle and watch for smoke getting sucked outside. Filling these gaps with caulk, expanding foam or weather strips can result in substantial energy savings.
4. Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
You can also replace old doors and windows entirely with new energy-efficient ones. Doing so is more expensive, but can result in more significant energy savings. When shopping for windows and doors, look for the ENERGY STAR label and energy performance ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council. Don’t forget the garage door — replacing a single-layer garage door with an insulated one can increase the temperature in your garage by 12 degrees on a 20-degree day.
5. Insulate Your Home
If you have an older home, your insulation might be lacking. Adding insulation to your walls, attic and basement can have a substantial impact on your heating bill. To check where you might need to improve your insulation, consider having a professional conduct a home energy audit, which will identify the areas from which heat escapes. Then, choose the right insulation based on your area’s climate and the part of the home you’re working on.
6. Dress in Layers
One of the oldest tips for lowering your heating bill still holds true today — put on a sweater. Wearing heavier clothing and dressing in layers can have a bigger impact than you might think. Pay special attention to your feet. Wear socks inside because, as you probably know, walking barefoot on a cold floor can make you feel especially chilly.
Here’s another tip that’s more about you than your home. Try some light exercise to increase your body temperature. Any kind of exercise you can safely do indoors will work. If you have a treadmill, stationary bike or free weights, you can use those. You don’t need any special equipment, though. Just try doing pushups or walking up and down the stairs a few times. Even cleaning can increase your body temperature slightly. Plus, you get the benefit of burning a few calories.
8. Use Waste Heat
Taking hot showers generates heat. So does cooking. The heat’s already there, so you might as well use it to your advantage. After cooking or showering, avoid turning on the exhaust fan, which will suck the heat out of your home, and leave doors open to let the heat travel through the rest of the house.
9. Maintain and Clean Your Furnace
Having an HVAC professional perform regular maintenance on your heating unit will help it to run more efficiently and reduce your heating bill. Most units need maintenance about once a year. Also, take care to keep your heating system’s filters clean and free of debris.
10. Use Your Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans aren’t just for summer. Since hot air rises, the temperature in a room is highest near the ceiling. If you have ceiling fans, turn them on a low setting and have then spin clockwise. This will push the hot air down without creating a strong draft.
Want to save money on your heating bill this winter? There’s a lot you can do. Just try one — or all — of these 10 tips.
Photo provided by the author.