It may be early in the fall, but winter is coming, and if our Game of Thrones binge has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared. We’re pulling out the sweaters, dusting off boots, and stock-piling hot chocolate. But one thing we are not prepared for is the increase our heating bill is going to see this winter.
Heating bills can get expensive, and no one likes shivering in their own home because the thermostat is set on 62. Knowing how to save on heating bills can make your winter a lot more pleasant. Read on to discover some of our favorite tips for keeping those heating bills low.
1. Close the Flue
If you have a fireplace in your home, one of the best things you can do to conserve heat is close the flue. The flue is a duct in your chimney that helps channel smoke and heat out of your house when you have a fire. Most of us keep this closed in the summer to keep animals from coming into the house, but it’s common to keep it open in the winter.
Having a fire is all well and good, but make sure you close the flue after each time you use your fireplace. Even if you have doors on your fireplace, those aren’t very insulating. Leaving the flue open is essentially ushering your hard-earned heat out of your house through the chimney.
2. Keep Your System Clean
Most of us know the importance of making sure air filters stay clean, but you should also be sure to clean your vents. Dust is a great insulator (not to mention a huge allergen), and it can gather around radiators and baseboard vents. This makes it harder for the heat to get to you and means your unit has to work that much harder to heat the house.
Your vents aren’t the only thing in your HVAC system that has to stay clean. Getting regular seasonal maintenance done on your system can make sure it’s working at peak efficiency. Companies like Americare Heat and Air can help you get this maintenance done before winter hits.
3. Open the Curtains
In the summertime, keeping the curtains closed can be an important heat-saving measure. No matter how well-insulated your windows are, sunlight will still come in and heat up your house. But in the winter, this light energy can work to your advantage.
Open your curtains and blinds, and let the sunshine in during the winter. The sunlight will help to heat your home, and besides, several studies have shown that sunlight increases serotonin levels in your brain. This means you can keep your home warmer and fight SAD (seasonal affective disorder) all at once!
4. Use a Programmable Thermostat
One of the easiest ways you can lower your heating bills is to use a programmable thermostat. These devices will monitor your energy usage, the outside temperature, and your activity. During times when you’re away from the house or asleep, they’ll turn the temperature slightly lower, saving you money on heating bills.
Best of all, most of these smart thermostats will track your habits over a period of time and set up an automatic schedule. You can give them a range to keep the house temperature in, and they’ll take care of the rest. No more trying to remember to turn up the thermostat before you rush out the door to get to work on time.
5. Seal Up Leaks
The simplest way you can lower your heating bill is to make sure you’re conserving as much of your home’s heat as possible. This means closing up all leaks and gaps in your home that might bleed heat. This simple project can save you as much as 10 to 20 percent on your bill this winter.
Go around your home and look for places where there are gaps through to the outside. Common problem areas are around windows, vents, doors, outlets, and cables. You can close these gaps with caulk, expanding foam, plaster, or weather stripping.
6. Add Insulation
Not only can heat bleed out through gaps in your home, but it can also seep out through the walls. This is the reason new houses have insulation in the walls and the attic. But if you have an older home or a basement, you may have some places that could do with more insulation.
If you have a basement, check to see if the ceiling and walls are insulated. If not, something as simple as gluing a sheet of foam core insulation to the ceiling can do a great deal to insulate your upstairs. In older homes with no insulation in the walls, there are services that can come blow insulation into the walls, saving you a ton of money and making your home more comfortable.
7. Use Space Heaters
One of the biggest problems with modern HVAC systems is that they heat our entire house at once. This may not seem like a problem until you think about all the unused space that’s getting heated. You’re paying to heat every room in your house when you may only be in one or two rooms most of the time.
Using space heaters can help you increase your heating efficiency and save you money. Run an electric space heater in the room you’re in, and turn down the temperature on the rest of the house. You’ll still be comfortable, but you’ll save a ton of money.
Learn More About How to Save on Heating Bills
Staying warm in the winter can be an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Knowing some tips for how to save on heating bills can make this Christmas the best one yet. Not only will your house be more comfortable, but you’ll have more money to spend on gifts for your loved ones!
If you’d like to find more awesome life hacks, check out the rest of our site. We have articles on how to go green as well as gardening and real estate resources. Check out our home improvement tips today.