With fall already upon us, winter is just around the corner. Although cooler weather can bring many beautiful days and lasting memories, it can also have the unfortunate side effect of bringing higher energy bills due to heating costs. High heating costs can lead to headaches and unwanted money-management problems that most people do not want to deal with at the end of the year.
Luckily, there are many steps you can take- both large and small- that will help reduce your overall energy costs throughout the winter. Implementing just a few of these tips can help reduce your heating bills and keep your money in your pocket this fall and winter. Try implementing one or more of these tricks and see how much you can save!
Sunshine is your friend in the fall and winter. While sunshine is bad for keeping your home cool in warmer months, sunlight is an excellent natural warmer for your home during the winter. Open the curtains and blinds on windows facing the west and east during the day to allow as much sunshine into your home as possible. This will naturally raise the temperature inside your home a degree or two, which can lead to significant savings on your heating bill. Draw the curtains closed at night to insulate your home from the winter night chill for a similar warming effect on your home.
There are many sneaky leaks inside most people’s homes. The most likely culprit are unsealed doors and windows in your home. Check your doors and windows for a tight seal. If you can feel coolness or air near any window, it is likely that you have a leak in that area. Seal the leak with weather stripping to prevent your warm air from escaping your home. Leaks can also occur other places in your home. Common leaks occur at any point where your home is open to the outdoors, such as unused chimneys, plumbing lines, electrical outlets, and near room vents. Seal the unnecessary leaks with caulk, insulation, or weather stripping to insulate your home from the cold and keep warm air inside where it belongs.
Turn down the thermostat
Just turning down your thermostat a few degrees during the day and night can make a significant difference in the amount of money you spend on your energy bills. Adding a programmable thermostat can make the process easier, but you can do it without one. Simply set the temperature of your home down about 8 degrees while away from home and at night. This can help you save up to 20 percent on your heating bills. Bundle up on blankets and warm clothing to keep warm at night. If you can stand it, turning down your thermostat a degree or two while you are at home can help too. A humid environment also feels warmer, so make sure to implement the use of moisture inside your home with a humidifier to keep things feeling toasty even while you use less energy.
Inspect your unit
A well-maintained heating system will perform much better and provide greater energy-efficiency than an old, broken unit. Inspect your heating unit once a year to prepare it to face the upcoming cooling season. Replace any broken parts, clean out the filters, and clean the heater burners for best results. Only a qualified professional should attempt the repairs for safety reasons.
One effective way at keeping your home warm in the winter for less is to switch to underfloor heating or a radiant heating system. Underfloor heaters use radiant heating to warm the entire room from the ground up. The ground is always warm, which helps the entire room to feel warm. Heat also travels upward, which makes a floor heater more efficient than a heater with ducts placed nearer the ceiling.
“All of these methods can help keep your family warm during the upcoming cold months. Follow one or more of the above tips and see if you don’t notice a pleasant change in your energy bills this winter.”
This guest post was contributed by Damien Wilkinson. Full time environmental activist and part time blogger, Damien is currently researching the benefits of unorthodox heating methods, like those found at Underfloor Heating 1. Photo by Chris Hartman