How to keep heating costs low in winter
In the wintertime, it’s better to be shocked by the chilly temperatures than by a high energy bill. Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than most systems in your home—making up about 42% of your utility bill. Wondering how you can save this year?
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that you can reduce your heating and cooling needs up to 30% by properly insulating and winterizing your home. Needless to say, improving the energy efficiency of your home is important—it helps avoid heat loss, helps you stay cozy and alleviates the climate-warming emissions produced when fossil fuels are expended for heating.
Making heating efficiency improvements in your home can seem daunting. However, many efficiencies can be easy and cost-effective. Here’s a roundup of ways to keep your heating costs low, your carbon footprint small and your happiness high as you make your way through these cold winter months.
Perform an energy audit.
Start out by determining your energy situation: how much you're spending on energy and where it's coming from. Also, check out the kind of insulation you have and research its properties to find out whether making adjustments might improve energy efficiency.
Address drafty windows and doors.
Air tends to sneak through the gaps around your home windows and doors and is typically a major source of heat loss—contributing to approximately 21 percent of total home heat loss. To help combat this, try installing a tight-fitting, insulated drape or shade over your window. You may also consider adding conventional draperies to your windows. According to DOE, when drawn, curtains can reduce heat loss from a warm room by as much as 10%.
If you have rooms that receive direct sunlight, open up your curtains and shades on sunny days, to warm your house up naturally.
Turn down the heat down a notch.
When you’re away from your home, especially for more than eight hours at a time, an easy energy savings tip is to turn your thermostat down a bit. If you turn your thermostat down an extra 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling costs in your home.
Keeping your thermostat on the lowest comfortable setting can help you save on heating costs, but it can also mean wearing a few more layers as you relax around the house. Instead of reaching for the thermostat when it gets a little chilly, try putting on warmer clothes, including sweaters and thick socks, and add an extra blanket to your bed.