Winter is a wonderful time of year if you like holidays, comfort food, and spending time indoors with family and friends. However, it can be difficult for many homeowners’ budgets. Winter usually comes with the highest heating bills you’ll see all year.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save on your energy bills. Below you’ll find a variety of low-cost tips that can help you reduce your energy usage in cold weather.
Let’s make this winter the best ever for your budget!
1. Get a Programmable Thermostat, If You Don’t Already Have One
A programmable thermostat can help you save by automatically turning down the heat when you don’t need it. That means you don’t need to remember to turn it down yourself every time you leave or go to bed.
Many households program their heaters to turn on right before they wake up, ensuring their home is comfortable enough to facilitate getting out of bed and beginning the day on time. You can then program it to cool down when you leave for work, warm up when you come home, and turn down again right before bedtime.
Depending on your current heating habits, you might save more than 20% on your monthly heating bill by installing and using a programmable thermostat. Upfront costs vary depending on the features, but you can usually find reliable options for under $30.
Your new programmable thermostat might just pay for itself the first month.
2. Invest in Insulation
Insulation is vital for keeping warm air in and cold air out of your house. There are several different types of insulation that may help you avoid heat loss, including blanket insulation and blown-in insulation.
If you own an older home, you may want to have a home energy audit done to identify air leaks. These audits usually include a blower door test, which involves using a high-powered fan to lower the air pressure inside and find where outside air leaks in. From there, you can install insulation wherever it is needed.
As a bonus, you can probably get tax incentives and rebates for investing in insulation. Your city, municipality, state, utility company, and the federal government may all offer financial incentives when you buy high-efficiency insulation products. Check with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to see what is available in your community.
3. Use the Curtains
Curtains are not just for decoration or maintaining privacy. They can also help you keep the heat in. Windows are often a major source of heat loss, and the extra layer that a curtain provides can make a surprisingly large difference.
You may want to open your curtains during the day to let sunlight and heat in, especially on south-facing windows. At night, closing the curtain will help you keep some of your precious heat from escaping.
If you do not have curtains or want to supplement, you could place blankets over your windows as a heat barrier.
4. Shut the Doors
Most homeowners do not use every room in their house at once. Why waste money heating rooms that are not currently in use?
Shutting the door can help keep heat inside the room you are currently in. That way, the heat generated by your body and the lights in the room will stay where you need it.
Keeping the room closed will make an even bigger difference if you are using a space heater, which cannot function as well with a larger area to heat.
5. Fix Your Roof
A large proportion of the heat escaping your home is probably leaving through your attic. If you have any small holes or leaks, you might be surprised by how much they affect your energy bill.
Some roofing supplies, such as tile or metal roofing, are more efficient at keeping heat in than others. If you are already planning to replace your roof, you would be wise to consider one of these roofing materials.
6. Seal Your Chimney When it’s not in Use.
Your chimney flue is a large hole in your roof. If you leave it open, it will have the same effect on your home temperature and heating bill as leaving your window open several inches.
Make sure to seal up your chimney flue whenever you’re not actively using it. If you haven’t used your chimney recently and aren’t sure whether the flue is open, look up inside your fireplace during daylight hours. If you can see the sky, the flue damper is open.
7. Change your air filters
The air filters on your heating system can have a dramatic effect on its efficiency. With clean air filters, hot air can more easily flow throughout your home. It’s generally recommended that homeowners change their air filters monthly, depending on the type of filter you have and other factors such as home size.
Changing the air filters will also reduce the strain on your furnace. With fewer furnace problems, you will be able to save even more money on home maintenance in the long run.
8. Use Space Heaters
Space heaters allow you to keep a single room warm while the heat is turned down in the rest of the house. There’s no reason to suffer through the cold just because you don’t want to waste money heating the whole house!
As we said before, space heaters work best in small spaces when the doors are closed. If the door is open, most of the heat you generate will leave the room, forcing the space heater to work harder for a less noticeable temperature difference.
Exercise caution when using a space heater. Since heating devices can be a fire hazard, you should always keep them away from walls and flammable objects. Keep a particularly close eye on any children playing near your space heater.
9. Keep the Area Around Vents Clear
If a vent is blocked by furniture or rugs, you will have a hard time heating your house! Instead of warming the room you’re in, the heat will be absorbed by whatever is in front of the vent.
Check the vents in your home to ensure there aren’t any large objects in front of your radiator. If there are, move them to another location so warm air can circulate more easily.
10. Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned
Over time, particles will build up inside your duct system and reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system. Cleaning your HVAC system, including your air ducts, will enable you to use less energy to heat your home.
One study found that cleaning a lightly-fouled duct system saved homeowners 11% on their heating and cooling costs. If you haven’t had your air ducts cleaned in a while, your savings will probably be even higher.
DuctVac Northwest provides high-quality duct cleaning and air quality services. We are not in the market to sell you unnecessary furnace parts, but rather to provide you with clean ducts and healthy indoor air. Our specialties include residential duct cleaning, commercial duct cleaning, and air purification.
We serve residents of King, Snohomish, Pierce, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Kitsap counties. Contact us today to get a free quote and $75 off your next duct cleaning.