7 Ways to Save Money on Home Heating Bills
Whether your home is 10-years-old or 100-years-old, you should always be on the lookout for ways to cut down on your heating bill. Updating your heating system with a more energy efficient furnace or boiler is one way to reduce fuel costs, but there are many other ways to reduce energy consumption, many of them very affordable.
Invest in insulation
Insulation is one of the best ways you can keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. We all know heat rises, so it makes sense to add insulation to an attic or crawlspace if none is there. Next check the basement. Insulation in the ceiling or the walls of a finished basement will add another protective layer.
The water heater and hot water pipes are also a source of lost energy. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket keeps the temperature of the water in the tank from slowly dropping as it sits unused. The first three to six feet of hot water pipe near the heater should be insulated as well. You can get an inexpensive insulation kit at hardware stores.
Stop air leaks in windows and doors
If you’ve noticed drafts coming from windows, or that the entryway to your home is always a few degrees cooler than the rest of your house, it’s time to invest in weather stripping and other sealants. Inspect all the windows and exterior doors for air leaks, which can be sealed with caulking or weather-stripping. For older windows, consider installing insulated plastic seals around the entire window. On doors, place weather stripping around the sides and top, and install a door sweep on the bottom.
Lower the water heater temperature
Standard water heaters run periodically to keep a constant source of hot water available for the house. Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees. By lowering the default temperature on the water heater to 120 or 125 degrees, you can cut down on the run time needed to keep the water stored within the tank hot.
Get a programmable thermostat
People who still use a manual thermostat to regulate the temperature in their house often set it and forget it. That results in hours of wasted energy heating the home when the family is at work or in school. Same goes for sleeping hours, when people typically prefer a room temperature lower than 70 degrees.
By getting a programmable thermostat, you can gradually reduce your heating bills, depending on how cool you let the house get during sleeping and work hours. You will save 1 percent on your annual heating bill for every every degree you set your thermostat back over eight hours. If you turn the thermostat down 5 degrees during the work day, that’s 5 percent. These easy to install thermostats take the trouble out of remembering to turn down the thermostat during the day and help warm your house up again in time for you to get home from work.
Look for little holes
Heat can escape not just under doors and through leaky windows, but through small holes made to connect pipes and wires to utilities and equipment outside. Sealing these holes with caulk or weather stripping can help warm air from escaping.
Let the sun shine in
Opening the curtains not only brightens up your living space during those short winter days, it can help warm up a room. Especially on days when you are spending time at home, lift the curtains and blinds during daylight hours. When the sun sets, drop them back down for an added layer of insulation.
Tune up your heating system
Annual maintenance on your home furnace or boiler not only extends the life of the unit, it can save you money on your heating bills. Clogged air filters and other problems that come with running a heating unit all year can reduce efficiency. An annual check-up will maximize efficiency and can help identify bigger problems before they become serious.