Whether you heat your home with a furnace, boiler, central heating, or an alternative way, there are easy ways to save money on your heating bill. When it comes to energy savings, sometimes it’s the simple things that add up to give you an overall reduction in home heating costs. Here are some ideas for how to lower your heating bill this winter:
Turn your thermostat down
According to Energy.gov, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day. Those eight hours can be while you are away at work or school, or while you are asleep. Better yet, install a programmable or WiFi thermostat to automatically control temperature settings for you. Programmable thermostats can help you save energy by pre-setting temperatures according to your schedule. Some programmable thermostats can even be controlled remotely by smartphones, giving you the option to change the settings when you’re away. Programmable thermostats can be found at most hardware and home stores, and they don’t necessarily require professional installation. ENERGY STAR says that synchronizing a programmable thermostat to your schedule can save about $180 a year.
Inspect your home for drafts and air leaks
Another way to save money on your heating bill is to inspect your home for drafts and exposed air leaks around walls, ceilings, lighting and plumbing fixtures, switches and electrical outlets that may be allowing warm air to escape, causing your heating system to work harder. Check all door weather seals and weather stripping for cracks or deterioration, and make sure that window frames seal tightly. The ducts around your heating and cooling system can also have gaps, so be sure to check the ductwork that runs through your attic, crawlspace, basement, or garage and seal and insulate them if necessary. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent and sometimes much more.
Maintain your heating system
Keeping your heating system properly maintained and having it professionally inspected and cleaned can help it function efficiently, as well as help troubleshoot potential problems. Always change the filters monthly, or as recommended by the manufacturer, to increase efficiency and to lessen allergens.
Use your fireplace to keep warm
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, use it! Get your chimney cleaner and inspected first to avoid a fire hazard, and take care not to leave fireplace dampers open which can let warm air out and cold air in.
Utilize your ceiling fan
Reverse ceiling fan blades to a clockwise direction in the winter to help circulate warm air down into the room.
Incorporate windbreaks outside of your home
Consider landscaping projects, such as windbreaks, that can help reduce winter heating costs. Windbreaks are strategically placed trees and shrubbery that help block wind and drifting snow from reaching your home.
Unblock your heating vents
Make sure heating vents aren’t blocked by furniture, boxes, toys, or other items. Blocking the vents will prevent warm air from reaching a room and can cause the heating system in the rest of the home to work harder.