As we hunker down and brace ourselves for the coldest months of the year, conscientious homeowners are probably thinking about how they can reduce their heating bill. The cost of keeping your home cozy and warm can be an expensive endeavor. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways, both large and small, that you can trim some of that expense without sacrificing comfort.
Whether you need a few simple and easy ways to reduce your heating bill or if you want to pull out all the stops and make big changes, you will find something helpful in the action steps listed below.
Baby Steps to Reducing Your Heating Bill
Even if you don’t have the time or money to make big changes to heating system, there are still small changes that will save you money.
- Turn down your thermostat setting. This is the easiest and fastest way to start saving money on your heating expenses. By turning your thermostat down just a few degrees, you can save big on your next bill. As a general rule of thumb, for every degree you turn down your thermostat (and leave it there) you save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
So throw on a nice warm sweater if you have to, but turn down that thermostat to start saving money.
- Use the warmth of the sun. Only a fool would turn down free heat. If you have windows that face the midday sun, open up the blinds and let in the natural warmth of the sun.
- Don’t be afraid to use a space heater. Space heaters are designed to heat small spaces. While space heaters have a reputation for being expensive to run, used correctly they can save you money on your heating bill. If you know that you will be in one area of your home, you can add some extra heat to that area with a space heater. Meanwhile, go ahead and turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Unoccupied areas of your home may be cooler, but the room you are in will still be warm and cozy.
Using a space heater occasionally will keep you from having to maintain a comfortable temperature in the entire home when it isn’t necessary.
- Use an electric blanket. By using an energy efficient electric blanket, you will feel more comfortable sleeping at a cooler temperature setting. You may even decide to use the blanket to warm your bed by turning it on 15 minutes before bedtime. Then you can turn it off and still feel warm and comfortable as you fall asleep without raising your electric bill.
Larger Steps to Reduce Your Heating Bill
- Seal your home’s drafts. You can easily places where cold winter air enters your home by using a handheld draft detector. If you don’t have access to one of these handy devices, you can use your hand or even a candle.
Once you’ve located any draft sources, take steps to seal them. Use caulk on leaky windows and weather stripping on gaps around doors.
- Get a tune-up for your furnace. Regular cleaning and equipment adjustments can make a huge difference in how your heating system runs. By scheduling a regular annual furnace tune-up, your heating system will run more efficiently. This is also the best way to catch potential problems before they turn into expensive repairs.
- Replace your attic insulation. Think of your attic insulation as a cozy blanket that helps hole warmth inside your home. Quality attic insulation is your home’s best defense against unnecessary heat loss.
Over time, insulation breaks down and compresses, causing a loss in insulation volume. If your insulation is older than 10 years old, it may be time for replacement. If your attic insulation has settled and measures less than 12 inches thick, it is time replace or add to the existing insulation.
- Order a home energy audit. A home energy audit is an extensive test that produces a detailed report. Using the latest technology, a home heating professional will search for air leaks as well as any other sources of inefficiency and help you determine steps to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.
- Upgrade your heating system. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacement. A newer system is probably the best way to achieve big savings on your heating bill. Be sure to talk to an HVAC professional about which options will work best for you.
Winter heating bills don’t have to be frightening. Whether you want to make big changes or take small actions, there are ways you can control your heating bill. If you have questions or need help implementing any of these strategies, contact your local HVAC expert for more information.