With a sharp change in the weather, we are reminded of the long winter ahead. Although there isn’t much we can do about the temperatures outdoors, there are a few ways you can keep your indoor temps and heating costs to a minimum. Here’s how:
- Invest in a programmable thermostat to reduce your home temperature while you are away and at night. By simply reducing your thermostat’s temperature setting for as little as four hours per day, you will see significant savings in your electric bill. As a busy homeowner, a programmable thermostat will remove the hassle of changing the temperature and do the work for you. As an added bonus, some programmable thermostats cost less than $50 – an investment that will easily pay for itself this winter.
- Reduce your thermostat setting to 68 degrees to substantially lower your heating costs. You can counter the effects by simply wearing a sweatshirt, slippers or cozying up in a blanket to stay comfortable. Note, for each additional degree you lower the temperature (in the 60- to 70-degree Fahrenheit range) you continue to save up to 5 percent on your heating bill.
- Utilize additional heat sources. There are plenty of activities you do around the house that generate warmth, such as cooking or taking a shower. When you shower, keep the bathroom door open so steam spreads to other rooms. After baking, leave the oven door open a crack to allow the remaining heat to warm your kitchen and the surrounding rooms. You may even wish to keep your air vents off, as bath and kitchen vents exhaust heated air along with moisture to the outside. You can also utilize a portable space heater to add comfort to a room without heating the rest of your home.
- Don’t let heat escape. Keep your doors and windows shut when the heat is on. If your home has a fireplace that you aren’t using, be sure the chimney flue is closed and glass doors are in place to minimize heat loss. If you do use your fireplace, be sure to keep the damper closed tightly whenever you don’t have a fire going – an open damper is like an open window.
- Give your furnace some TLC. A couple ways to make sure your furnace is working properly this year include: A) have your furnace cleaned and tuned annually to ensure proper combustion and maximum airflow and B) change your furnace filter monthly to ensure proper airflow and efficiency.
- Check your windows and doors: Pay attention to the weather stripping on your windows and doors; these areas are likely to deteriorate over time and can be a source of heat loss. Be sure any storm windows are properly closed – this will aid in reducing heat loss. Consider covering any unused doors (patio, basement and attic) or windows (spare bedrooms) in plastic to prevent drafts. Window kits are available at your local hardware store, or blankets are a convenient option.
- Fill any cracks in doors, windows and basement floors with caulk from your local hardware store to prevent extra heat from escaping your home. You can also purchase or make door snakes or put towels in front of the bottom of your door to prevent cold air from coming in.
- Close vents and doors to rooms you do not use on a regular basis. By minimizing heat to these locations, you can easily decrease your energy bill without sacrificing comfort.
- Take advantage of the outdoors. Although you probably don’t want to be outdoors during the dead of winter, utilize Mother Nature by opening your blinds and curtains during the day, allowing natural sunlight and warmth into your home. Close them at night to help retain heat.
- Make some changes to your water heater. Lower the thermostat set point on your water heater to 120 degrees (most are set at 140 degrees by the manufacturer). You can check your water temperature by carefully placing the back of your hand under a steady stream of hot water – if you can’t keep your hand there, your water is too hot. Lowering your water temperature 10 degrees will lower your energy costs by 3 to 5 percent and also help your heater run at an optimal level, keeping down corrosion and sediment build-up. You may also wish to install a water heater blanket to compensate for inadequate insulation. Be careful to follow manufacturers’ recommendations and don’t cover the thermostat.
For more information on money saving tips this winter, contact us call (800) 246-0273.
For more winter saving tips, download our ebook: Top Ten Guide to Reduce Your Heating Bill