Staying warm without breaking the bank: How to heat your home during the winter and save money.
If you feel a shiver each time you open your utility bill, your house may be too cold. More likely though, it’s your heating bill giving you the chills! In either case, you can make changes now that will give you a warm home and save you money.
Check out these 6 simple things you can do to cut down on your heating bills, save money, and have a warm house!
- Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times of the day because you don’t need to keep your home at 68 degrees around the clock.
Although one shouldn’t be used with heat pumps, a programmable thermostat is a real money-saver with air-conditioning as well as with heat. In most cases, you can install a new thermostat yourself.
- Close Those Flues
Make sure your flue is closed when you don’t have a fire going. An open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape up the chimney as a wide-open 48-inch window lets out.
Sure it feels warm by the fire, but every Btu that goes up the chimney is replaced by cold air pulled into the house elsewhere. And all that cold air has to be heated, a chillingly costly prospect!
Can’t resist a cozy fire occasionally? Install a set of glass fireplace doors. Closing these doors when you go to bed prevents large volumes of heated air in the living space from escaping after the fire has gone out.
3. The Spin on Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are everywhere in warm weather climates. Spinning counterclockwise, they move air around the room. Not all energy experts feel it’s a good idea to use them in the heating season (doubters say they cool the air too much), but the fans do help bring heated air down to earth in rooms with cathedral or high-sloped ceilings.
However, that’s only if you slide the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the winter (clockwise) position. Then run the fan at its lowest speed. If you can’t reverse the blade rotation or if you think the fan is cooling off the room too much, leave it off.
4. Install a Door Sweep
If you feel cold air seeping beneath a door leading outside, install a draft-defeating nylon door sweep. This long, thin broom-like vinyl-and-pile attachment gets installed along the inside bottom edge of the door. Cut the sweep to fit with a hacksaw and keep it in place with four or five wood screws.
If you heat the garage, check to see if cold air is sneaking in along the bottom edge of the door. Rubber garage-door gaskets, nailed in with 1 in. galvanized roofing nails, can stop that cold air cold.
5. What About Those Drapes
Do you have drapes or curtains that block sunlight? Open them during the day to get free solar heat . And then close the curtains just before sunset. Also, consider insulating curtains (around $100 per window).
As a general rule, each square foot of window that you insulate at night saves about 1 gal. of oil or nearly 1.5 cubic feet of gas a year, which means that insulating curtains pay for themselves in a few years, to say nothing of the added comfort.
6. Adjust Your Water Heater
You use more hot water in winter. Lower the water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. And take showers, not baths. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average bath consumes up to 25 gallons of hot water, while a five-minute shower uses up much less — only around 10 gallons.
Equipping your showers with low-flow shower heads also dramatically reduces the consumption of water, both hot and cold.
Need more guidance on saving energy? The U.S. Department of Energy’s website provides tons of easy and practical energy-saving tips for your home.