Bundle up! Heating your home is responsible for up to 40% of home utility bills. Here we will take a look at some actions you can take to save money on your heating costs this winter. Some of these ideas are obvious and you can do them yourself. Others will require a professional assessment and probably an investment that can be recovered in the medium to long term.
How Can I Save on Heating Costs?
Control the Thermostat
Adjusting the thermostat before going to bed and again in the morning is the best time, even though we are home more in the holiday season. At home, we can bundle up for a few hours a day to save on heating costs. Set the thermostat to around 63 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it there for as long as possible each day. Just by turning down the thermostat, you could save approximately 10 percent on your energy bill.
From early morning to late afternoon even the winter sun, when magnified through the windows, can help to heat a home. Therefore, you will want to let in as much sunlight as possible. Open the drapes, curtains, and blinds and only close them as the sun starts to go down. Closing them then will make them something like a layer of insulation and help rooms retain the warmth. This will further reduce the need to turn the heat up.
Cook up a Heatwave
A kitchen warmed by cooking on the stove and in the oven will continue to feel warm for a long time after the baking is done. Perhaps move a couple of chairs or stools into the kitchen if there is space for them. The warmth of the kitchen will permeate throughout the house and give your furnace a break, especially during the day.
Get into the habit of closing doors behind you. Teach your children to do the same. Although drafts may still creep through the gap at the bottom, closed doors will help to keep a room heated. Closed doors prevent heat from escaping quickly. For rooms that you seldom use, close the door and block the gap at the bottom with a towel or a draft stopper. It is also useful to close the heating vents in those rooms.
Close windows properly
Windows expand and contract according to the weather. This wear and tear can eventually cause windows to fail to close tightly. Consequently, they let cold air in and warm air out. If you have old windows, consider upgrading to energy-efficient home windows. Up to around 70 percent of heat is lost through windows and their old frames. This can cause furnaces to struggle with regulating temperature in your home. Consider replacing old windows when the budget allows.
Maintain the air ducts
Clean the ducts and check for blockages. Reseal the ducts and replace filters where necessary. Seal them with foil tape or mastic sealant. This will ease the pressure on the furnace and thereby reduce costs.
Clean the filters
The furnace in forced-air heating systems more than likely has a filter to trap dust, small particles, and pet hair. Failure to clean the filter can cause debris to build up. In turn, this prevents the heating system from operating efficiently. Clean the filters monthly or replace old filters so that the system can function properly.
You can reduce heating costs by insulating the attic and walls to prevent heat loss. By retaining heat, you are able to switch off the heating system periodically.
HVAC System upgrade
Consider overhauling or replacing older HVAC systems that don’t work efficiently. You can recoup these costs over time through lower energy costs.
Consider having the professionals conduct an energy audit on your home. The experts will know what to look for and will have more ideas on how you can lower heating costs in the winter.
Additional Reading: OPPD Winter Tips
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