Q: Winter’s here! Every time the furnace kicks on, I feel like it’s burning money! How can I keep my house cozy and my heating costs low?
A: There’s nothing like being toasty warm when it’s cold outside. Unfortunately, keeping a home warm isn’t cheap; monthly heating costs can easily reach $300. Don’t be left out in the cold! Check out these five tips for cutting your heating bill this winter.
1.) Heat selectively
To avoid paying for unused heat in rooms that aren’t used regularly, shut the doors and close the vents in those rooms. To keep rooms that see regular use toasty warm, consider using a space heater. That way, you can lower the thermostat and still be warm in the rooms you use. This can knock up to $20 off your monthly heating bills!
2.) Use the sun
Sunlight streaming through the windows can raise the temperature and make it feel warmer. To do this right takes some timing. Thick, insulated curtains keep warm air in, but block sunlight. Open those curtains while you’ve got exposure, then close them when the angle of the sun changes. That way, you’ll trap as much free solar heat as you can.
3.) Plug holes
Heat escapes through holes in walls. If your walls have actual holes, these should be your first priority. For most of us, though, the holes are less obvious.
Windows and doors are the first culprits. An inexpensive window treatment kit from a home improvement store can help plug your windows. Doors are trickier. If there’s an entrance that you use less in the winter, consider putting a blanket in front of it to stop drafts. Also, check weather stripping around the doors for signs of deterioration.
Another drafty hole is the chimney. The only thing between your home and the outside is a sheet of metal, a poor insulator. Installing glass doors, at $200-$300, can save up to 2% on your energy bill. Alternatively, a square of foam over the front of the fireplace can help.
Heating a house when no one’s home and maintaining daytime temperatures when everyone’s snuggled under blankets are shameful wastes of heat. Constantly changing the thermostat gets cumbersome. Fortunately, technology makes it simple. Programmable digital thermostats can automatically adjust the temperature in your home according to your family’s schedule. Though the units are inexpensive, installation can be tricky, but worth it. The EPA estimates that digital thermostats can save a household almost $200 per year.
Proper airflow is essential to a heating system. Anything blocking the airflow makes your furnace work harder, costing you money! There are two primary points of blockage: vents and filters. Cleaning your vents while dusting takes almost no time. Replacing the air filter in your furnace is also simple and only needs to be done every one to three months.