Heating costs can make up 40 percent of your utility bill during the colder winter months. Although the money-gobbling monster in the basement is the cause of high heating bills, the furnace can’t be blamed. In many cases, furnaces have to work overtime to compensate for leaky windows and doors. Window replacements, with better sealing and double glazing, will certainly reduce your energy bills throughout the colder winter months. There are several other measures you can put in place to stop leaking heat and money. Don your socks, grab a blanket, bundle up, and take a look.
How to Cut Home Heating Costs in the Winter
Turn down the thermostat
Make an annual saving of up to 10 percent by lowering the thermostat. The best time to lower your thermostat is before going to bed and before leaving the house in the morning. Setting it to around 63 degrees Fahrenheit should still be comfortable.
Did you forget to set your thermostat before you got in bed or walked out the door? A smart thermostat can solve all of those problems by letting you control your thermostat from your phone whether you’re home or away.
Let the sun in
Let the warmth from sun-heated windows into your home by opening blinds and drapes. Close your blinds or curtains as the sun goes down to keep the heat from the sun in for longer. Energy-efficient windows will act as a layer of insulation, helping you save on heating costs.
Use the oven to cook or bake! The heat from the oven will increase the temperature in the kitchen. Not to mention, you’ll have a hot meal or freshly baked cookies and it will make your house smell great too.
(Caution: While an oven or stovetop can act as a space heater, never use your oven or stovetop with the sole intention of heating your home. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.)
Shut the doors
After entering or exiting a room, close the door. Keep the doors of seldom-used rooms closed all the time to keep hot air flowing into other rooms. You can also lower energy costs by closing the vents in unused rooms. This will help the heat in the ducts bypass those rooms and go where it is needed. Consider placing a drafter blocker at the bottom of the door to prevent air leaks.
Shut the windows – tightly
Leaky windows let warm air out and cold air in. Over time the contraction and expansion of window frames will result in windows not being able to shut tightly. The seals around the windows also crack and perish. The cost of replacement windows won’t take too long to recoup from lower heating bills.
Check the ducts
Heat is lost through poorly maintained ducts and in uninsulated areas such as the basement, attic, and garage. To prevent leaks, seal around the joints in the ducting. You can seal them by using foil tape or mastic sealant. Also, check the ducts for blockages.
Ceiling fans can be set to operate in reverse. This will have the effect of sending the warm air that is rising back down into the room again. To test, stand under the fan when it is on – you shouldn’t feel any air movement.
In forced-air heating systems, the furnace probably has a filter. Dust, small particles, and pet hair are trapped by the filter. Debris can build up without regular cleaning. Consequently, the heating system won’t operate properly. Clean the air filters once a month to keep the system running optimally. If you neglect the filters, chances are you will need to replace them.
Having furniture in front of heating vents is not only a bad idea for the furniture, but it also prevents warm air from circulating. If possible, rearrange the furniture to be a few feet away from the vents to improve airflow. This will allow air to travel freely, and distribute the heat better. If you are unable to rearrange the couches, try to pull them forward a couple of inches.
Insulating the attic and walls will reduce heat loss through the walls and roof. Insulation comes in different qualities and grades for different purposes. Ask the professionals for advice and a quote on insulation services.
HVAC System Upgrade
Older HVAC systems probably no longer work efficiently. As with window replacements, you will be able to recover the investment cost of a new HVAC system over time through lower heating and cooling costs. A new HVAC system and new energy-efficient windows will also increase your property value should you ever want to sell your home.
An energy audit is something you can do if you know what to look for. However, if in doubt, leave it to the professionals. They will have the necessary experience and tools. An audit will give you a game plan to move forward with. If you are working with a tight budget, you will at least have a plan to work towards, and know what to prioritize.
Additional Reading: Stay Warm and Save Money with ENERGY STAR This Season
Discount Window and Door of Omaha
At Discount Window and Door of Omaha, we are committed to providing the best quality doors and replacement windows. We employ the most skilled installers to ensure the highest standard of quality service. Our installers are highly trained, certified industry professionals with years of experience, including some second and third-generation employees.