The most expensive time of the year for heating is here and it can send home utility bills skyrocketing. Rather than brace for the worst, there are some good ways to keep your heating bills in check. Here are just a few simple tips to save on heating costs this winter.
1. Cover your windows. Big windows and plenty of natural light seem like a great selling point when you are in the market, but those windows can end up costing you a lot in escaped heat over the years. The best plan is to upgrade your windows, but if it’s not in your budget, you can weatherize them easily instead. Try insulating drapes or plastic sheets that seal windows from the inside. You can install both yourself, and easily swap them out once the weather warms up again.
2. Monitor the thermostat. Pay attention to how warm you are keeping your home and determine when throughout the day you can turn down the heat a bit. Installing a programmable thermostat can take the guesswork out for you by automatically adjusting temperatures based on the time of day. Energy.gov reports that setting your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours per day (when you are at work or your home is empty) can save you 10 percent on heating costs annually. Don’t just allow your thermostat to run on autopilot; manage your temperatures.
3. Maintain your furnace unit. The best way to save money on heating costs is by investing upfront in the upkeep of your furnace unit. This includes regularly scheduled tune-up visits by a professional and also replacing your filters regularly, especially during peak season. This will ensure that your furnace is operating at its highest efficiency and will alert you to any potentially costly problems in advance.
4. Pay attention to your fireplace. Would you leave a window wide open during the coldest months of the year? Of course you wouldn’t! But a fireplace with an open damper has a similar effect. Make sure that your fireplace damper is closed when you do not have an active fire burning. If you never use the fireplace, have a professional come and plug and seal the chimney. You should also consider installing tempered glass doors and using caulking around the hearth to seal in the warmth.
Having a warm, comfortable home is a modern convenience that we pay for dearly in the winter months. Do your part to conserve energy, and keep more money in your account, by taking the time to manage your heating efficiently.