We’re skipping over the summer heat and diving headlong into the autumn and winter chill, trading in those t-shirts for jackets and sweaters. With that chill comes the extra expense of keeping your home warm. It’s a human necessity to keep warm, but heating costs can put quite the dent in your bank account. What can you do to save on your next heating bill?
1. Maintain and service your heating system regularly.
Call a service and repair person to check your furnace and all parts of your heating system every year. A heating system that is dirty, broken, or leaking will not operate as efficiently and force you to turn the thermostat higher to get minimal results. Dirty vents will also potentially blow dust and allergens into your home, creating an unsafe, unhealthy living environment. Furnace filters should be checked and changed seasonally, or as needed.
2. Cash in on Heating and Air Conditioning Rebates
If you’re thinking about installing a new heating and/or air conditioning system, you may qualify for local and manufacture rebates. York offers up to $1,200* in rebates and Bryant offers up to $1,100*. These 2012 rebates end soon – take advantage of these offers while you can.
*Rebates depend on equipment purchased, see Ideal for details.
3. Properly insulate all areas of your home.
Proper insulation is a smart investment for any home. Heat rises and without proper insulation in your ceiling and attic, the heat from your furnace is essentially escaping through the roof. The average attic space has an R-30 insulation rating, though some areas recommend as high as an R-50 rating.
Add weather stripping around doors and windows to eliminate drafts and prevent heat from escaping through those tiny cracks. Plastic window film, door thresholds, and window caulking are all great, cheap investments that can save you up to 20 percent in energy costs.
Check around your home, especially the garage and attic, for any exposed heating ducts. If you spot any, you might consider wrapping them in insulation material to prevent heat from cooling down as it travels through your home.
4. Be smart about the temperature you set.
It helps to be smart about how you use and set the temperature in your home. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, turning your thermostat down by one degree can save up to 3 percent on your energy bills. If you spend most of your time in one room, you should reconsider cranking up the heat for the entire house and find other methods of staying warm in your single room.
At night and when you’re not at home, set your thermostat back about 10 degrees. This can save you up to 15 percent on your heating bill.
5. Install a programmable thermostat.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have difficulties remembering to turn their thermostats down. To ensure your home’s energy efficiency and your own comfort, consider installing a programmable thermostat. You can set your thermostat to reduce your home’s temperature and then fire back up automatically when you wake up or get back home.
6. Take advantage of the little things.
There are a ton of little things you can do to stay warm around the house. Wear extra-cozy layers when you’re at home. During the day, open your curtains and shades on windows facing the south to let the sunlight stream in. At night, close the curtains back up to seal in the warmth. If you have ceiling fans, turn them on at the lowest setting. This pushes the warm air rising to the ceiling back down to your level and circulates it around your home.
Photo Credit: Autumn leaves, Dixon Park, Belfast by Albert Bridge