Ways to Save on Your Heating Costs
Jack Frost has arrived and as the temperatures drop, your heating bills rise. Here are a few money-saving tips to stop winter from emptying your wallet:
- Select a lower thermostat setting. For each degree you turn your thermostat up you're increasing your bill by 3–5 percent. Put on a sweater and find some slippers because the savings may be worth it. When you are away from home for a few days, setting the thermostat between 55–60 degrees is ideal. Never turn the heat off completely because your pipes may freeze.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. According to Consumer Reports, a programmable thermostat can cut your annual energy bill about $180. You can set the temperature lower when nobody is home, and set it to get warmer about a half hour before anyone will be home.
- Keep the drapes and shades that face the sunniest side of the house open during the day to allow the sunlight in. At night, reduce the chill from the windows by closing the shades.
- Close off any unoccupied rooms. If possible, close the heating vents in those rooms too.
- Block the air from coming in around your windows by covering them in plastic or by having double-paned windows installed. Inexpensive plastic covers form an air pocket between the window and the plastic, reducing heat loss by 25–50 percent.
- Weather stripping and caulking around exterior seams, openings and cracks should also reduce the loss of heat in your home. Pay special attention to all windows, and where exterior points like wood, brick and vinyl siding meet. For interior windows and door frames, caulking and weather strips will also save you money.
- Minimize the use of ventilation fans. In just one hour, kitchen, bathroom and other ventilation fans can pull out a houseful of warm air. Turning off the fans immediately after they have done their job and keeping your home's humidity level between 30 and 60 percent is ideal.
- Keep your heat registers, baseboard heaters and radiators clean and unblocked by furniture, carpet and drapes.
- Taking the time to clean or replace your furnace filters once a month or as needed can save you up to 10 percent when combined with tip number seven.
- Reverse your ceiling fans. Because heat tends to rise, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan during the winter months can improve air flow within your home, moving the warm air throughout the house. If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan blades in a clockwise direction. This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings.
- Finally, if you have a gas water heater, consider taking shorter showers. Showers generally account for two-thirds of water heating costs. By cutting each shower in half, you'll save up to 33 percent on your bill.
Many gas companies offer a level payment option. If you've recently moved and don't have a utility payment history to compare, you might consider using standard monthly billing for the first year. You can track your expenditures and consider ways to save on your heating bills in the future.
Looking for more ways to save when it comes to your home? Check out our homeowners insurance discounts!