5 Ways to Cut Heating Costs This Winter
Ballooning utility bills are a reality no one looks forward to once winter hits full force, especially if those bills are taking a big bite out of savings for the future. But you don't have to just sit under a blanket, accept your fate and hope for an early spring. By finding ways to cut your heat usage and maximize what you do use, you can still save money this winter.
Here are five great ways to cut heating costs and keep saving this winter.
1. Get a Smart Thermostat
Thermostats are different from 20 years ago. Today's thermostats can be programmed from your phone and recognize your personal habits, adjusting the temperature of your house accordingly. Installing a smart thermostat may cost from $50 to $200, but should practically pay for itself over just a few months.
Even the simplest smart thermostat models can be programmed to lower your house temperature overnight and during the day while you're at work. This keeps your house at a comfortable temperature while you're awake and in the house while saving you money when you're sleeping or away. During the winter months, each degree lowered on your thermostat between 60-70 degrees can save you up to 5 percent off your heating bills, according to the California Energy Commission.
2. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Doors and windows are two areas where your home can leak significant amounts of heat – heat you're paying for! Heat leaking out of the house can translate to a higher heating bill as your furnace must work overtime to make up for the escaping warm air. Doors and windows aren't insulated the same way as walls, and are designed to open, producing natural cracks and spaces even when they appear firmly closed.
According to EnergyStar, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that sealing homes and adding insulation saves an average of 15 percent on home heating and cooling costs. Ensure your window and door frames are properly caulked, and check for gaps between doors and frames, adjusting where needed. Reduce drafts and leakage by sealing the insides of windows and unused doors with a plastic wrapping kit - they're available at hardware stores and provide a quick and easy introduction to cutting heat costs.
3. Dress in Layers
If you're serious about cutting heating costs, consider lowering your home's temperature by a few degrees, and just throw on an extra sweater and thick socks. After all, you'll be wearing heavier clothes during the winter anyway, so why not wear them indoors as well? By doing so, you can be saving that 5 percent per degree all day long – every day.
4. Insulate Your Air Ducts
Are your air ducts and pipes wrapped in fiberglass or foam? If not, it's time to get wrapping. Uninsulated pipes lose heat, and lost heat is lost money. In fact, you could be losing as much as 10 percent of your heat through uninsulated pipes says energy website EnergyGuide.
5. Pay Attention to Doors and Vents
Using internal vents and doors to control the area and flow of heat makes it easier to heat important areas at a cheaper overall cost. For example, you might not use your basement much in the winter, so by closing those vents you help force hot air toward your main living areas. The same goes for doors – leave the rooms open that you want to use in order to maintain a balanced heat, and close off the ones you don't need as warm. According to EnergyGuide closing vents and air ducts in rooms you don't use may save between 5 and ten percent on your heating costs.
These simple habits can help you help reduce your heating costs this winter and keep your savings goals on track.