Save on Heating Costs This Winter

Winter is in full swing, with some areas of the country buried in snow and others experiencing deep-freeze temperatures. If you’re unlucky, you’re experiencing both right now.

But it’s not too late to start saving money on costs associated with cold weather. We’ve still got another couple of months of chilly temps, so why not save a few bucks that you can spend in the spring and summer?

Below are 14 tips to save money while staying warm and comfortable this winter.

  • Something you might want to start with is an energy audit. That will tell you exactly where heat is escaping from your home and will allow you to focus on those areas.
  • If the audit reveals air leaks – or you discover them in another way – seal them, including any gaps around your chimney. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal leaks around doors and windows.
  • Maintain your heating system. That means annual cleanings and monthly or bi-monthly filter changes. Speaking of filters, inexpensive ones can actually be more effective than costly filters that impede air movement.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. It’s easy for heat to escape when insulation is not adequate. Local home improvement stores carry inexpensive insulation. The Department of Energy has an insulation tool that will tell you how much insulation you need, based on your zip code.
  • Set your thermostat as low as you can comfortably do so. Keep your home cooler when you’re sleeping and while you’re at work or doing errands. A programmable thermostat will take care of it for you. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day.
  • Let the sun heat your home. Many of the coldest winter days are sunny. That’s because clouds help hold in heat closer to the earth. When it’s sunny, keep your curtains wide open. Close them when the sun goes down.
  • The older your home, the more likely windows will be drafty. You can use clear, plastic sheets on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames.
  • Only heat rooms you use. Close and seal off vents in rooms you rarely use. Keep the thermostat low and use a space heater if necessary in certain rooms.
  • Keep furniture and other items away from floor and wall vents. Why block the warm air you’re paying for?
  • Use ceiling fans. A clockwise spin will trap heat to keep rooms warmer in winter. A low setting is usually better. When summer rolls around, set it to counter-clockwise to push hot air up.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better. Not to mention the fact that dry air is bad for your skin.
  • Reduce heat loss from your fireplace. The damper should be closed if a fire is not burning. A heat-air exchange system will blow warmed air back into the room. If you don’t use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue. Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.
  • Bundle up in layers. Warm socks, slippers, sweaters, throw blankets on your couch and easy chair, and area rugs to insulate hard floors will allow you to turn the thermostat down. Flannel sheets for your bed are warmer than cotton.
  • Use exhaust fans sparingly. They push your warm air up where it does you no good.
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