12 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Heating Bills
The cost to heat your home has been on the rise for the past few years. I am sure you have noticed it. Electricity, heating oil, gas - the prices have increased all over the country. Sometimes it seems that there isn't anything we can do to lower our bill. We do not have to be at the mercy of the energy companies though. There are things you can actively do to lower your heating bills each month.
1. Keep curtains and blinds closed at night. This will lesson the amount of heat that is lost through your windows. On the flip side, if the sun is streaming in your windows during the day, open the blinds and curtains and let the sun heat your house some.
2. Make sure your windows and doors are sealed tight. Sometimes you can just tell by holding your hand in front of the door jam, sometimes you don't notice it. One of the ways to find small leaks is to go around all your windows and doors with a candle. If the flame starts blowing you know you have an air leak. You can add caulk around windows and weather stripping around doors. You can also purchase or make a thick snake like thing to cover the crack at the bottom of doors.
3. Consider adding extra insulation in your attic or walls. Adding insulation in your attic is cheaper and easier than adding it to your walls. There is obviously an upfront cost to this idea; however your house will feel much warmer at a lower temperature setting on your thermostat.
4. Lower your thermostat. For every degree that you lower your heat you will save 3-5% on your heating bill. You might not think that lowering the thermostat by one degree will matter, yet it does. You aren't meant to wear short sleeve shirts in the winter anyway, so throw a sweater on and turn the heat down.
5. If you have a fireplace, have a fire. On very cold days it isn't effective to have a wood burning fire, as you will lose some heat through the open chimney. On moderately cold days having a fire will help to lower your heating bill.
6. Change the filter frequently. My furnace company recommends every month. With a clean filter your furnace will not have to work as hard to heat your home, therefore it will use less energy, which will save you money.
7. Install a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to have your heat turned down during the day and at night, but at the temperature you desire while you are home. A programmable thermostat is great for forgetful people like me. You shouldn't program drastic temperature changes though, as that could cause your furnace to have to work so hard to heat the house back up that it doesn't save you money in the long run.
8. If you spend most of the day in one room (such as a home office), consider purchasing an electric heater. Keep the heat to the whole house turned down and the heater near you. Not much point in heating 2000 square feet when you only use 100.
9. If you get too cold at night with the heat turned down, consider using an electric blanket. This way you will stay warm, however you don't have to heat the entire house to do so.
10. When you are finished using your oven, leave the door open a crack to let the heat warm up the room.
11. Close off unused rooms. Close up the vent and shut the door. This will force that heat through the duct work to the other rooms that have open vents. You could even consider hanging blankets between rooms that don't have doors.
12. Consider alternative heating options. This especially makes sense if you need to replace your regular furnace anyway. Radiant floor heating is supposed to be wonderful and works with hot water. Wood burning stoves are becoming more and more popular and can be connected to your regular duct work and the hot air can be blown through the ducts just like the furnace does. If you do need to replace your furnace and still want a furnace, at least get one that is very energy efficient. This will pay off in the long run.
Remember this winter, that there are things you can do to reduce your heating bills. Stay warm!