I don’t know about you, but I always try to save on home heating bills. Let’s fact it, heating our homes is expensive! After the past weekend, it appears we’re knee-deep in winter weather (although a reprieve seems to be coming). Many of the tips to save on home heating bills include projects that should have been undertaken in autumn. But, if you’ve been feeling that your home is a bit draftier than it should be and the visions you have are of dollar bills dancing away from your pocketbook, take heart. There are still some things you can do right now to help stop the money-bleed and warm up your home. Follow the tips below to save on home heating bills!
Turn down your thermostat – Ok, let’s start with the obvious way to save on home heating bills. But, “for every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs,” according to consumerenergycenter.org. Bundle up in sweats and sweaters and you’ll be the one in the neighborhood laughing all the way to the bank.
Use Those Curtains – Another way to save on home heating bills involves your drapes. Drapes on the windows will help to hold heat in the room. Use heavy fabrics, (such as velvet or tapestries) in the winter and consider backing them with insulated fabric. Another option is insulated curtains, which can be purchased ready-made, and ready-to-hang. There’s no need to back them with insulated fabric yourself, which saves you precious time and effort . Drapes, however, can also block the cheapest means of heating your home – the sun. If everyone returns home long after the sun has set, opening these curtains at that time may not be a means of saving energy. Instead, keep them closed to block out the cold. But, if sunshine is expected, open the curtains before you leave for work in the morning and on the weekends. This will help you save on heating bills by allowing the sun to heat your home. Keeping them closed at night and on dreary days will help insulate the home from the cold.
Speaking of windows – Consider exterior shutters to keep the howling wind from seeping around the windows. Older windows (and doors) can be a great loss of heat. Heat can ease out of doors and windows that aren’t sealed well. Cold air will also find it’s way though cracks and broken seals, which results in higher home heating bills. Save on home heating bills by examining windows and doors for cracks and broken seals. Sometimes caulking and weather-stripping will take care of any problems.
Reverse your ceiling fan – Did you know ceiling fans can allow you to save on home heating bills? Warm air rises, always. Reverse the direction of spin on your ceiling fan to help pull warm air up and then circulate it out and down. Stand under the fan and watch the blades spin – they should rotate clockwise in the winter. To change the direction, use the remote control. If you have an older fan that lacks a remote, you should find a toggle-switch on the unit, just below the blades. The Homeowners and Trades Resource Center offers some great advice on ceiling fans.
(If you have vaulted or cathedral ceilings, however, the fan is mounted too high for this technique to work.)
Close the fireplace – Traditional fireplaces suck warm air up the chimney and pump it out of the house, which don’t help you save on home heating bills. If you have a fireplace, close the flue (after all hot embers have died down, which can take up to 24 hours) when it’s not in use. When you’re ready to use the fireplace again, don’t forget to open the flue.
Use a Humidifier – Central heating can be very drying. And this makes everything feel a little colder than it is. Moist air, on the other hand, holds the heat better and naturally feels warmer. Using a humidifier, even in just the room you spend the most time in, will allow you to set the thermostat a little lower. And setting the thermostat a little lower will help you save on home heating bills.
There are also some myths regarding saving money on home energy costs. Let’s take a look at one of the biggest:
Close off the vents in unused rooms – We’ve all heard that we should close the heat vents in rooms that we don’t use and seal off the room from the rest of the home. Surely this helps us save on home heating bills! Hogwash, say HVAC experts. Modern forced air heating systems require a balanced pressure load throughout the house. Blocking one or more vents throws the load off balance, causing the system to work harder, eventually breaking down. This, in turn, does not allow a homeowner to save on home heating bills. The Family Handyman suggests that you speak to an HVAC professional before closing heat vents.
Remember, there are plenty of ways to save on home heating bills, and if you’re serious, you might want to take a look at your insulation and HVAC as soon as the weather permits so next winter brings even more savings.