Whether your home is heated by electricity or natural gas, a high heating bill can sometimes be a huge shock. Thankfully, there are plenty of low cost or free changes you can make in your home or apartment. Here’s how you can save money on heating, and feel more comfortable as well:
Adjust Your Thermostat
The most effective way to save money on heating is to lower your thermostat. For every degree lowered, you can save up to 3% over a 24 hour period on your heating bill. According to the Department of Energy, 68 degrees is the temperature you should set your thermostat to in the winter for maximum energy savings. When you leave the house for work, lowering your thermostat an additional seven to 10 degrees can save you an additional 10% on your heating bill. If you can lower the thermostat to such a temperature like 55 degrees while you sleep, it will save about 13% on your heating bill.
Use A Programmable Thermostat
In terms of savings, a programmable thermostat can save you 1% of your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat over an eight hour period. Within your first month of use, you can save 10% to 20% of your monthly heating bill which will likely be enough to pay for the programmable thermostat itself.
Encourage Air Flow and Circulation
Central heating is only effective when air is allowed to flow freely into each room. If each of your rooms are not equipped with air returns, keep the doors open to allow the central air system to warm your whole house in the most efficient way. If one room is consistently cooler or hotter than other rooms, set your vents to direct more airflow into that room.
If you have ceiling fans, set them to run in the opposite direction compared to summer. During the winter, ceiling fans should rotate clockwise. And changing your air filter quarterly, which can cost anywhere from $2 to $10, allows cleaner, healthier, and warmer air to flow freely through vents and into rooms.
Clean Vents, Radiators and Keep Them Clear
Dust is well known for being an allergen, but it is also great insulation. This means that when dust builds up on baseboard heat vents or radiators, it will prevent air from flowing freely into rooms. Make sure your radiator or vents are clean and free from dust to promote equal heat distribution.
Every year, Americans contract about one billion colds, people often mistake dust mite allergies for a cold. These symptoms could include itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and even wheezing or difficulty breathing. These symptoms, which can often last weeks at a time, could be relieved by clearing dust off your vents or radiator.
Consider Your Windows
An estimated 10% to 25% of the heat lost in your home can be attributed to the windows. To maximize heat efficiency in your home, open your shades and curtains during the daytime to allow the natural heat provided by the sun into your home. At night, close your blinds and curtains to insulate your home, keeping the heat in; thick-lined curtains are best.
Gaps around your window frames, sashes that are not airtight, and single-pane windows cause your home to lose heat as it is free to flow out through these openings. As the first line of defense, plug up these openings with clay rope caulking between the window frame and the sash. Adhesive V seal weather stripping that easily peels off and removable caulking are two other temporary choices to plug up the small openings in your windows. For someone with single-pane windows, heavy-duty clear plastic window treatments will reduce the amount of heat lost through the windows.
Each one of these options will cost you anywhere from $5 to $25 to seal four or five windows. The return on investment can be astronomical since the efficiency of each window will be increased by up to 70%.
Consider Your Doors
Like windows, doors can be a huge source of heat loss. To maximize heat efficiency in your home, check your doors for leaks. You will likely be able to see daylight between the door and the threshold. If you do, seal it up with a draft seal that fills in the space between the bottom of the door and the threshold. You can also go the cheaper route of a cloth draft stopper or a rolled-up towel which works great.
Seal Up Any and All Leaks
Seal the various gaps found around pipes, vents, or other openings with weather stripping or caulk. Most heating ducts have small gaps that allow hot air to escape slowly. This can be prevented with a 10 dollar roll of metallic tape or an aerosol-based or liquid sealant that also costs around $10 but is usually more effective than tape. You can save anywhere between 10% to 20% of your energy bill by sealing these gaps and leaks.
Keep Humidity High
Keeping the humidity high in your home will help reduce heating costs since moister air retains heat better than drier air. This will keep your home warmer for longer and make the air feel warmer to your skin. Other benefits to a moister environment include improved respiratory conditions, reduced static electricity, and moister skin. A quality humidifier will cost $30 or more.
If you are willing to undertake an expensive project, installing insulation in your home will provide the most drastic reduction in your energy bills. If your home is not properly insulated, up to 20% of every dollar spent on heating your home could be going entirely to waste. Insulation is also a tax-deductible home improvement project, providing you an even larger return on investment.
Another overlooked area that should be insulated is heating ducts. Non-insulated heating ducts can lose up to 60% of their heated air before it reaches the vent, especially if the ducts travel through spaces that are not heated like the basement or attic. Insulating your ducts will help them retain energy and heat. This can cost as little as $10 and save you 10% or more on your heating bill. Special duct insulation is a great option for those who will be living in their home for many years or just a few.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to reducing your heating bill, there are plenty of online marketplaces where you can purchase clay rope caulking, adhesive weather stripping, or metallic tape. In fact, more than 80% of all Internet users have shopped for goods or services online. If you want to reduce the amount of heat loss in your home, then get online and watch your heating bill drop.
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