How to Lower Your Home Heating Bill
Lowering heating bills becomes more of a priority in winter where cooler climate temperatures can frequently drop below freezing. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates 43% of home utility costs are comprised of heating expenses. This means lowering heating bills can dramatically lower the cost of living.
Some methods of reducing home heating bills are more practical and cost effective than others. The larger, more expensive options can take years to pay off, however may be worthwhile for households who plan on staying in a residence for several years to come.
For those who are looking for short-term home heating cost improvements, there are a number of techniques and methods that don’t require installing expensive new equipment or re-designing a home. Even if some tips are already being used, there may be more ways to lower a heating bill.
Inspect heating equipment
An old air filter may not be as efficient a newer one which can be well worth the savings both in terms of the life of your furnace and the potential energy savings. Seals around the heating equipment should also be in place and if possible follow additional guides on heating equipment maintenance.
Check windows and doors
Windows and doors can account for a large percentage of heat loss in homes without well installed energy efficient features. To reduce heat loss from windows and doors without replacing them, seal cracks with caulk or insulating foam, attach thick door sweeps to door bottoms, and cover windows with inexpensive plastic window covering and/or use insulating window covers such as curtains behind the window(s) at night.
Keep outside air out
Outside air should stay outside in winter if you want to keep your indoor temperatures steady. After sealing off doors and windows, looking for additional places where air can enter may reveal surprise air drafts, and leaks. This includes bathroom vents, fireplaces, drying machine ducts and cat flaps.
Let the sun in
The sun shines most heavily on the south side of homes in the northern hemisphere. Windows that have clear insulation can still let in sunlight while protecting from drafts of air. The more sun that shines on your home in winter, the better it is for heating bills when windows let light in during peak sunshine hours.
Lower the thermostat
A widely known method of reducing home heating costs is to lower the thermostat. Setting a lower temperature on your heating thermostat can drastically reduce the cost of heating your home especially if it isn’t insulated well. During periods when the home is empty, consider a temperature between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit; if there are no plants or pets to keep warm, even lower temperatures may work.
Use energy savings plans
If oil is the energy source that heats your home in winter, buy new oil when its cheaper. Heating oil can have cyclical cost patterns meaning it can be cheaper in the summer when less people need it. If gas or electricity are used check which costs more to use. Sometimes electricity can be cheaper to use than gas and vice versa. Utility companies and energy cooperatives may also have options to average out or lower seasonal heating costs.
Close off unused rooms
Residences may have rooms that are used less frequently. Instead of heating these rooms, keep them at minimum temperatures by closing doors, and shutting air vents. This helps maximize the use of existing hot air circulation and lowers the square footage needing more heat.