It doesn’t matter what kind of energy you use to heat your home. You could be using gas, electric, oil, and the heating bill will still be going up when it gets colder out. Even though this is inevitable, there are still things you can do to keep the heating bill as low as possible.
There are several ways to alleviate energy costs. Some of them actually cost money themselves, but they will save you money in the long run. There are also very cheap, and even free steps you can take to keeping your energy use down. If you take one of these steps it may help a little, but if you put a few of these together, it could lead to serious savings, as well as a more comfortable home.
Here are a few of these tips to saving you energy and money this winter…
Take Care Of Your Windows
Every home has windows. They can be nice when the sun is shining through, brightening up your home, but they are also energy wasters. Cold air can make it’s way through them and into your home, causing your heating system to have to work harder to do the job.
Windows take about 20% of the wall space in your home on average. Windows are the number 1 source of lost heat in your home. Even with heavily insulated walls, your windows are still leaking energy in your home. You may even notice seats that are closer to the windows being colder places to sit.
Energy Star recently did a study that outlined the benefits of different windows in your home. The gauged the energy lost, and the money saved from different styles of windows. You can save anywhere from $27 to $465 a month by upgrading from single-pane to double-pane or clear glass windows. Homes with large windows, or lots of windows spread throughout could see a significant savings when they make these upgrades.
There are also many inexpensive ways to keep your windows from being energy wasters come wintertime. Shades are a good start, and the heavier the better. Open them in the afternoon so the glass magnifies the heat from the sunlight. Once the sun goes down, close the shades to prevent drafts, and chilly air from making its way into your home. You can also get cellular shades that are specifically made for insulation.
Other options would be caulking or weatherstripping the window frames. Sometime little cracks around the windows can be sealed, making for a quick and easy fix. Or, you can invest in draft blockers. These are cloth tubes with insulation in them that go at the bottom of a window and prevent cold air from entering your home. You can buy them for under $20 each, or save money and make your own if you’re crafty.
Enhance Your Living Spaces
For starters, remember to reverse your ceiling fan blades in the winter. Lots of people associate ceiling fans with only cooling, but, they can actually conserve heat if you use them the right way.
The trick is to turn the blades from counterclockwise to clockwise in the fall and keep them at a low speed. There’s usually a switch on the assembly you can reach easily. Now, the blades will push the hot air that’s rising back down into the room.
Another easy thing to look at is the access to vents around your home. If you have the heat coming out of your vents, you want to make sure there is nothing blocking them. This could be a couch, a desk, bureau etc. If you are blocking your vents, the heat is stopped up and the system has to work harder to do the job.
While you’re moving things around, consider some light redecorating, too. Fleece and flannel blankets, for instance can go a long way.
Hanging some heavy and aesthetically-pleasing blankets can serve as a great decoration, be used to insulate the room, or taken down to cover you up! Drape some blankets and lower your thermostat anywhere from three to ten degrees — a move that can save you up to 10 percent on your heating bill.
Keep Your Heater Serviced
Conserving energy can also happen right at the source of your heat. One of the most common ways an energy bill can skyrocket is when a heating system isn’t running at 100%. If you haven’t had your heater looked at in over a year, there could be things going on inside of it that are preventing optimum efficiency. There could be a blockage in the system, leaks, cracks, etc. Making sure your heating source is running at 100% is the best step you can take when it comes to lowering your heating bills.
Having your heater serviced once a year will cause you to use less energy, and pay less money when your heater is working efficiently. An easy thing you can do all by yourself is change the air filter. This ensures that dust and debris don’t get into your system, and the air travels freely into your home.
After changing your filter, getting a professional to come look at your system is a smart move. A certified technician will clean, lubricate and optimize your heater’s inner components. They’ll also get ahead of off any potential problems that will cost you a lot at once.
If a part is worn down, it’s more likely to break when the system is working hard. You don’t want this part to give out on the coldest days of winter, leaving you waiting for emergency service. Taking care of an issue like that before it becomes a major problem can go a long way toward keeping your energy bills low until the warmth of spring starts to creep back in.