Consumer Tips: Save Money on Your Home Heating Costs This Winter
Following these easy tips can help keep your power bill from going up when the outside temps go down
It's a fact of life. Your heating bill will go up as the temperature outside fall. But with just a little bit of work, you can save some serious cash this winter on home heating costs. Consider these tips to help you save money this winter.
- Set your thermostat a little lower.
- For your whole-house fan, use the 'auto' setting instead of 'on' for power savings of up to $15 per month.
- Have your furnace serviced each year.
- Seal and insulate leaky ductwork.
- Clean or replace air conditioner and furnace filters once a month or as needed.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Close your foundation vents.
- Don't close off too many rooms in your house.
- Make sure the fireplace flue is closed if you aren't using it.
- If you installed press-on window tinting on windows that receive a lot of sunlight, remove the tinting in the winter to let heat in.
- Don't use portable heaters often.
- Consider adding additional insulation to your home.
- Allow ceiling fans to shoulder some of the cooling work.
Lowering your thermostat temperature by just a few degrees can save a lot of money over the cold weather months, especially if you use electric heat. After a brief adjustment period, you probably won't even notice the difference!
Additional tip: Have you ever noticed how warm your house gets when you're cooking something in the oven? In the winter, lower your thermostat several degrees about an hour or two before cooking or before guests arrive. You won't overheat the house that way!
With the whole-house fan on, you're pushing air through the ductwork in the attic or crawlspace. When you push air through unconditioned space, its temperature will drop slightly and slowly cool the rooms in your home. This means your heat will turn on more often to maintain the desired temperature. Even if you have high efficiency filters, the central air moving through your home doesn't do that much to keep your breathable air clean. It just keeps contaminants from entering the system. If you're worried about indoor air quality, run the vacuum more often.
Servicing the unit will maintain efficiency and can help prevent catastrophic failures caused by lack of maintenance. Compare it to changing the oil in your car and you can understand the importance of doing it!
Sealing any duct leaks and insulating ductwork does a lot to ensure the airflow moving through your system goes where it's supposed to go, not into unconditioned spaces. Compare it trying to pull water through a straw with tiny holes in it. It doesn't move efficiently.
A restricted filter can drastically reduce efficiency. Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20% or more, increase the time for rooms to reach the desired temperature, and make it much harder for the system to do its job. A system that works harder will use more energy and will fail sooner.
You can save money by keeping your home cooler than normal when you're out and setting it to increase the temperature just before you get home. It is also wonderful to set it to increase the heat just before you get out of bed in the morning!
Close your foundation vents in the fall if your home has a crawl space. You don't need freezing cold air flowing under your house and surrounding your ductwork.
There is something to be said for reducing airflow to rooms you don't use regularly. But don't close off too many. Heating and cooling units work best with adequate airflow.
Fireplaces can lose up to 90% of the heat they produce. For every $100 spent on wood, you get $10 worth of heat. So if your fireplace isn't being used, close the flue to make sure your warm air isn't flowing out. Also, consider investing in glass doors.
You can put it back on when it warms up again.
Running a portable electric heater constantly could cost $100 or more in energy use per month. A whole house system is more efficient, especially if you use gas heat.
Insulation can be blown into walls or layered in the attic or crawlspace areas. Doing so can create a thicker blanket for your home. Attic insulation is by far one of the best defenses you can have against heat loss and gain. R-19 or higher is recommended and an investment of a few hundred dollars for extra attic insulation can pay for itself in as little as a year.
They circulate air, which helps rooms feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by almost three degrees. It may be even more noticeable if you have high ceilings. Use the fan to push warm air back down to the floor.