Heating costs are ever rising.
Home heating is one of the biggest annual costs for any homeowner, but there are ways to cut down on those costs without freezing. Here are 10 tips to help you lower your heating bill this winter to save your money and your sanity.
1. Use your curtains.
Curtains can work both ways – they can allow sunlight to come in, and they can also stop heat from leaving as quickly during the night. Keep all the curtains on the north side of your home open in the morning, and shut them tightly at night, so the warm air doesn’t leave quite as fast. Heat escapes very quickly through glass, so curtains or blinds are great. Blockout curtains work the best – but anything that is a barrier will reduce costs.
2. Turn the thermostat down.
An obvious solution, but how much is enough? Generally, every degree equates to about 3% of your energy costs, so dropping it a few degrees full time can really do a lot by the end of the winter. Similarly, lowering the thermostat about 10 degrees when you go to work and at night when you head to bed can put a huge dent in the overall heating costs.
3. Keep the extraction fans off.
Regular ceiling fans can actually be beneficial, as we’ll talk about in a second, but those bathroom and kitchen extraction fans suck air out of the house and send it outside. It only takes about an hour for an average fan to pull an entire room’s worth of air, and that’s a lot of warmth we’re talking about.
4. Use a reverse ceiling fan.
We all know that hot air rises, and because of that, a lot of warm air is pooling up on your ceilings – one of the main reasons roof insulation is so important to stop the loss of warm air. A reverse ceiling fan, one that pushes air down, can recirculate some of that hot air back around the room to be used a second time. Most ceiling fans have a summer/winter setting (a little switch above the blades) – now’s the time to switch it over to winter!
5. Lower the heat on the water heater.
Not all of that heating energy is going to you directly – a lot of it is used to keep water hot for showers. Experts recommend reducing your water heater temperature to about 45 degrees, which will require less power and not make much of a noticeable difference.
6. Seal your house.
This tip is useful both in summer and in winter. Seal all the gaps that are letting air get out of the house. After a few years, the wood around your doors and windows will warp slightly, creating gaps and making you use more energy to heat or cool your home. Hold a candle or incense stick near any place that could have a leak to see if there are any gusts blowing through. Seal up the holes with some ‘no more gaps’.
7. Close off rarely used rooms.
If nobody goes into a certain room on a day-to-day basis, close it off so it doesn’t steal any of the heat from the rest of the house. Keep the door shut, and close all the heating vents in that room so the air goes to more useful places.
8. Clean out your air filter.
If your filters are clogged, the heater has to work harder to push air through. Clean out all of your filters at least once a year, ideally right before winter, to make sure they’re clean and unobstructed, letting that heavenly warm air flow through with as little effort as possible.
9. Light a fire.
If you have a fireplace, wood oven, or wood burner, you can pick up a few cords of wood before the first frost and use that for not only extra heat, but also for a cheery evening on a dark night. Real fires can be a bit of a pain to start – but if you have a ready supply of firewood – your heating is effectively free!
10. Wrap your pipes.
Hot water flowing through an uninsulated pipe is one of the biggest money burners out there. If your water heater is in an unheated area of the house (such as the garage), you can buy insulation to wrap it as well as any exposed pipes or ducts.