Turning up the heat too often during the winter could translate into a shocking heating bill each month. Nobody wants to pick between paying for heat and other necessary expenses. With these tips, homeowners can minimize their heating expenses without being left in the cold.
1. Expand Insulation
Homeowners who live in regions with cold winters have to fight a battle against heat loss. They heat their homes, and that heat eventually passes outdoors. Adding more insulation, particularly in the attic, helps to combat heat loss. Insulation is a relatively inexpensive improvement that may not require a lot of time to complete. As an extra benefit, the insulation will also help keep the hot air outside during the summer, making it a great improvement for overall efficiency in just about any home.
2. Seal Air Leaks
Leaving the door or window open and letting all the cold air in is something most homeowners know to avoid. However, leaks in the home may be causing a similar problem. Air leaks in the home’s structure, or around doors and windows, lets the heated air escape. Leaks in a heating system’s ductwork stop heated air from reaching the right places in the home. Sealing these leaks improves energy efficiency and decreases the heating load on the equipment. It also ensures that every room in the home is consistently comfortable.
3. Insulate Plumbing
A notable percentage of winter heating comes from water heating, and heat loss is a problem for pipes as well. Insulating pipes is different than improving the insulation within walls, but can also be helpful. Homeowners might consider putting self-sticking insulation on pipes that deliver hot water. If a home’s hot water heater is more than five years old, it may be losing heat more quickly than normal. Using a blanket that is specifically designed for hot water heaters will keep more of the heat in the tank, reducing the energy needed to keep the water hot and ready for use.
4. Add Window Treatments
Replacing old, drafty windows with new windows is a great way to help cut down on heat transfer, but it may also cost tens of thousands of dollars. Homeowners with a limited budget could notice a significant improvement simply by putting in an extra layer of window treatments to block the chill from pervading the room. There really is no objective limit to the amount of window treatments a window can have. Adding a set of heavy drapes to a window with blinds could decrease heat transfer by up to 25 percent.
5. Use Programmable Thermostats Efficiently
Programmable thermostats are so inexpensive these days that it becomes a no-brainer for most homeowners. The trick is to use it properly. Programmable thermostats work more efficiently than manual thermostats by adjusting the temperature gradually and on a timer, so homeowners do not have to run the furnace full-blast whenever they feel cold. Homeowners who create settings several hours apart, that change by only a few degrees at a time, will get the best energy efficiency for their effort.
6. Focus on Personal Comfort
Heating equipment is best seen as part of a complex picture that keeps the home warm, as well as the people living in it. A furnace or other heating equipment is a necessity during a cold winter, but it does not need to be the only way to maintain comfort. Using a ceiling fan that can cycle heated air back toward the ground is an effective way to create more warmth. Even without other devices, many people realize they can turn down the thermostat by one or two degrees simply by wearing a sweater, putting on a blanket, or drinking something hot.
Saving money on energy consumption during the winter is not particularly difficult, and does not have to involve freezing at home. When homeowners use these handy tips, they can lower their heating bills, decrease their energy usage, and still stay cozy all winter long.
Written by Anthony Gilbert