It’s never too early to think about ways to save on heating costs this winter. In fact, for the biggest savings, you need to start before winter arrives. Snow already falling? That’s okay — these tips will still help you stay warm without burning a hole in your wallet.
We had a long, brutal summer in Kansas. Even now that the daytime temperatures are bearable and the mornings are downright chilly, it’s still hard to believe winter will ever arrive. I’m mentally ready for it, that’s for sure. Hot flashes and hot summer days are NOT a fun mix. But my budget is dreading the high cost of staying warm this winter.
Fortunately, I found five tips to keep winter heating costs down this year, and I plan on implementing them all.
Ways to Save Money on Heating Costs this Winter
1. Go low.
According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% this year by turning your heat down 7-8° from its usual setting. But what should that setting be? For most people, a temperature of 68°F during the day is comfortable, provided you aren’t planning to run around the house in shorts. Infants and the elderly may need it warmer, though.
As for bedtime settings, lower it to 60°F and add an extra blanket to your bed. Don’t go too low, though: indoor temperatures below 55°F won’t keep pipes on exterior walls warm enough to avoid bursting.
If you don’t feel like fiddling with the thermostat morning and night, or you’ve got a spouse or kids who’ll mess with it when you aren’t looking, install a programmable thermostat. I installed this one myself and saw a significant reduction in my very next gas bill.
2. Check these.
Over time, weather-stripping wears down, so even if you’ve replaced yours in previous years, it’s still a good idea to check for a tight seal around windows and doors.
To do so, close the house up and light a candle on a breezy day, then (carefully) move it around the edges of your door and windows. If the flame flickers, it’s time for new weather-stripping around the door. For windows, these window winterizing kits work great — I used them in my house until I could afford window replacement.
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3. Passive Heating
Sunlight is free and can raise your indoor temperatures from 5-10° on sunny days. Take advantage of this by opening curtains on the sunny side of your house during the day then closing them an hour before sunset. Using thermal curtains in winter will also help keep that heat indoors.
4. Flip this switch
Most ceiling fans come with a switch that changes the direction the fan spins. Since warm air rises, flip the switch on your fans so the blades turn in a clockwise direction to force air down from the ceiling so it can warm you.
5. Clean this
No matter the age of your heating system, it’ll work overtime trying to force hot air through a dirty filter. All that extra work translates to extra money out of your pocket. Keep your filters clean by changing them monthly (or washing them, if they’re reusable) to keep the warm air flowing freely through your house.
Although a crackling wood fire is almost synonymous with cozy winter nights unless yours has a forced air fan you’re just wasting money burning a fire. That chimney flue you need to open to prevent carbon monoxide buildup also sucks up the heat your fire’s producing, along with any warm air in the room.
Can’t resist a cozy night in front of the fire anyway? Then close that room off, or you may undo in one night all of the ways to save on heating costs that you’ve practiced throughout the month.
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