10 Heating Bill Life Hacks You Can Count On This Winter
(DailyDig.com) – Budgets are tight and energy costs are soaring. While many people know they can save money on their heating bills this by turning down their thermostats and finding other ways to stay comfy at home, there are many other steps they can take to save on their heating costs.
Check for Air Leaks
Cold air seeping in around windows and doors is a prime culprit for forcing your heater to run more than it needs to. Replacing worn seals around doors is an inexpensive way to create a better seal, plus a towel can cover the base of the door at night. Leaky windows might be more costly to replace the seal, but plastic seals to cover the entire window for winter are inexpensive. Check the seals on the refrigerator and freezer to ensure they are not leaking cold air into the room.
Change the Furnace Filter
Dirty and clogged furnace filters require the heater to work harder to pull air through, decreasing efficiency. Filters only cost a few dollars, so changing them every month during the winter and summer seasons is a cost-effective measure.
Get a Programmable or Wi-Fi Thermostat
Turning down the thermostat for eight hours a day if everyone is gone to work can save 10 percent on utility bills. A programmable thermostat can be set to turn the temperature down when no one normally is at home and at night when everyone is safely under the covers. A Wi-Fi thermostat offers even more control as it can be controlled from anywhere so the temperature only needs to be turned up when someone is headed home. Some utility companies offer to install these for free to decrease their load capacity.
Request an Energy Audit
Utility companies also sometimes offer a free or discounted energy audit. An expert will check the home to determine where energy might be escaping and suggest ways to increase energy efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy also offers a guide for homeowners to do their own energy checks.
Turn Down the Hot Water Heater
The Energy Department also recommends running a hot water heater at 120 degrees, but most are set to 140 degrees by default. That’s a savings of 11 percent on heating water. Cutting shower times in half gives an even bigger boost, saving 33 percent.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Modern detergents are designed to be just as effective in washing clothes in cold water as in hot water, so the hot and medium settings on the washing machine don’t really give any extra bang for the buck spent heating the water.
Turn on Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans don’t just help cool a house in summer. When set to push the air up during the winter, they effectively push the warm air hanging around the ceiling down to where it’s needed. This hack is particularly effective in homes with high or vaulted ceilings, as rising warm air will just hang out up where no people are.
Skip Using the Exhaust Fan
There’s no need to vent out warm, humid air generated by a shower when that air could migrate through the house. Leave the exhaust fan off during the winter to share the air and increase humidity in the house.
Let the Sunshine In
Open the drapes or blinds during the day to let the sunshine provide natural warmth but close them after sundown to keep that warmth trapped inside.
Check Attic Insulation
An attic should have at least 11 inches of insulation to protect against the heat rising right on through to the great outdoors. An adequate layer of insulation will pay for itself in the first winter after installation.
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