How Can I Save on Heating Costs This Winter?

Q: It’s that time of year again when the outside temperature drops and my heating bills soar. How can I save on heating costs this winter?

A: We all want to keep our homes warm when it’s cold out, but that doesn’t have to mean paying sky-high heating bills all winter long. There are many steps you can take for keeping costs down while still enjoying a comfortably heated home. Here are six ways to save on heating costs this winter. 

Seal all leaky doors and windows

First, you’ll want to make sure your house is leak-proof. You can test for incoming air by lighting a candle and holding it near each window and door to see if the flame blows in a specific direction. Carefully seal any gaps and cracks with weatherstripping or caulk. You can also cover leaky windows with insulation sheets and put draft stoppers under doorways. For even more significant savings, consider adding or upgrading your home’s insulation in the walls and attic.  Don’t let that warm air escape your home!

Invest in a smart thermostat

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to upgrade your thermostat to a smart model. A smart thermostat can be controlled through a connected device so you can lower the temperature from wherever you are. You can also set it to automatically lower during specific times of day to maximize savings. Many models will also learn your household patterns and then optimize accordingly.

Insulate yourself and your home

If your house is consistently chilly, take steps to insulate it against the cold. Consider adding rugs to your hard floors and hanging curtains over your windows to keep the cold air out. You may want to invest in thermal curtains or blinds, which provide extra insulation and will help you maintain a comfortable temperature at home. On a similar note, dressing in layers during the winter will keep you toasty and warm without cranking up the thermostat. 

Have your furnace professionally inspected

Calling a professional to inspect your furnace can pay for itself within just a few months. 

Depending on their opinion, the professional may then clean or upgrade your furnace so it works more efficiently. An old and dirty furnace system can work at 60 to 70% efficiency; while a newer, high-efficiency system can work at 90 to 98%. As a bonus, costs for service or upgrades can be offset by federal tax credits and utility rebates are available for many energy-efficient upgrades. 

Let the sunshine in

Make good use of all the sunshine you get this time of year. Open the shades when it’s sunny out to let the sun’s rays heat up your living space. Be sure to close the curtains again at night to keep the cold night air out.

Heat selectively

If you’ve got a large home and not many people living there, chances are you’re spending money to heat spaces that no one uses. Focus on heating the rooms that are frequently used, while reducing heat in lesser-used spaces.  You can use space heaters to warm up specific areas of your home instead of turning on an entire heating zone. You can also close the doors and vents of unused rooms that don’t need heating to minimize waste.

It’s getting cold out, but you don’t need to watch your heating bill burn through your budget! Use the tips here to save on heating costs this winter.