How to Reduce Heating Costs in Your Home and Save Energy
Year after year Winter comes and goes leaving you with nothing but an extremely high heating bill. The question of how to reduce heating costs is one that everyone asks. It’s a frustrating dilemma. You need heat during the Winter to stay comfortable and to be able to get a good night’s sleep. But it is a constant struggle between staying warm and saving money. There are plenty of ways to solve this chilling problem. Paying attention to these specific areas can help reduce your heating cost.
Checking your furnace is a great place to start. Call a professional to perform maintenance on your furnace. There could be a problem that is preventing your furnace from running at the most optimum level. Your technician will be able to spot parts that need to be fixed or replaced. There will be an upfront cost of getting your furnace serviced but having it run as efficiently as possible will help to reduce your heating costs in the long run.
Also, as it was explained in our previous blog post, Preventive Maintenance: Prep Your Furnace For Winter, most furnace warranties only remain valid if you have annual inspections done. So not only could getting your furnace inspected help save on heating costs, but it could eventually save you a lot of money if your furnace needs to be replaced.
If you still have a traditional thermostat in which you have to adjust manually for any change in temperature, it may be time for an upgrade. There are inexpensive programmable thermostats that allow you to manually program certain times when the heat should be turned down. Programming the thermostat to drop 15 degrees when nobody is home or when everyone is sleeping can drastically reduce heating costs.
If you’re constantly looking for the most up to date technology, a learning thermostat is perfect for you. It’s a steep price at around $250 but it will save you from having to manually program your thermostat. It will learn when you’re not home and when you sleep and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Worn weatherstripping is a common cause of heat loss. Thinking that it is just getting colder outside, you keep turning your furnace up. But actually, the weatherstripping around your doors could be letting in a lot of cold air, preventing you from staying warm. Take a look at the weatherstripping in your home. It is easy to replace and will keep the cold air out and the heat in.
If you can see daylight coming from under your exterior doors, then your threshold is not high enough. Daylight shining through means there is plenty of room for warm air to escape. Raise your threshold until there is no light coming through, or at least until the light only comes through at the corners of the door.
However, do not raise it so high that it impedes the functionality of your door. You can also add a door sweep to the bottom of the door to help seal the gap. Door sill plates can also be installed to help seal the bottom of your door.
Holes in Exterior Walls
Any water pipes, gas lines, or electrical wires that are coming into your home could be leaving gaps, allowing cold air to get in. When they’re installed they are sealed with caulk but that will crack and chip away over time. Go back and seal these gaps with expanding foam.
For water wipes, check to see if there is an escutcheon ring that is against the wall. This ring is purely for decoration and does not seal off air flow. Remove the ring and seal the gaps with caulk. You can then replace the ring to cover the unattractive caulk around the pipe.
The insulation around electrical boxes is another place where you could be wasting energy. To solve this problem, start by removing your the cover over the outlet or switch. For small gaps, you can use acrylic latex caulk. But for large gaps, you should use a foam sealant. Once these are set, place a foam gasket over the outlet or switch. Then finish by replacing the cover plate.
Windows and Glass Doors
Windows and glass doors can account for a 25% loss of heat. A simple remedy for this is to cover all windows and glass doors with an inexpensive plastic film. It is easy to apply and if it is done right, then you will barely be able to notice that it is there. When Winter is over and Spring time rolls around, the film can be easily removed without damaging the glass.
Even if your attic is well insulated, the door to the attic can be a source of heat loss. Heat will rise and escape through any crack it can find. Using an adhesive, attach fiberglass batt insulation on the inside of your attic door. This will help to keep heat inside. If your attic door does not shut tightly, a latch bolt system can seal it so no airflow gets in or out.
Your chimney is an easy escape route for heat to leave your house. Even if your shoot is closed, heat can still escape. To create a tighter seal, try using a chimney balloon. Place the balloon in your chimney and inflate it until there is a solid seal.
Don’t worry about deflating the balloon when using your chimney, as it will automatically deflate when a fire is started. However, repeated use with the balloon inside can cover the balloon in soot and make it hard to manage.
If you find that your family seems to congregate in one room of the house, it might be a good choice to buy a portable heater. You can place the heater in the most popular area of your house, like your living room.
For the rooms that are rarely used, close them off and shut their heating vents. The other rooms in your house may seem a little chilly but you spend most of your time in the living room anyway. Dressing warmly and using blankets in the other rooms of your house should be sufficient.
After you’ve done all that, turn down the temperature on your thermostat. For every degree that you drop below 70, you will see a 3% savings. Do this all Winter long and that 3% will start to add up.
Ceiling fans are mostly used to help cool you down during the summer months. They can also be used to reduce heating costs and keep you warm during the winter months. You just have to switch the direction that it operates. Fans spinning counterclockwise will cool the room. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction to a clockwise spin, which will help keep the room warm.
Since hot air rises, the fan will circulate the warm air from the ceiling down through the entire room. This will allow you to drop your furnace a few extra degrees. Just don’t forget to switch it back when warm weather comes around or else you’ll feel like you can’t escape the heat.
Remember the Simple Stuff
It can be very easy to forget about simple little things that will help keep your home warm during the winter. But the issue of how to reduce heating costs can be solved by using a few simple tricks that can make a big difference.
Use sunlight as much as you can. Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean the sunlight isn’t strong. On sunny days, make sure all of your blinds are open. We all know how quickly you can become heated when you sit in the sun for a while.
Make sure all of your vents are clear from obstruction. Unless you’re trying to keep the heat secluded to a certain area of the house, take a walk around to make sure all of your vents are open and that nothing is cover them. You may have vents that you’ve forgotten about because they are covered by a piece of furniture or a window curtain.
Lock up everything. Whenever your doors or windows are unlocked, there is not a complete seal. Lock all your windows and doors to block as much airflow as possible.
How to Reduce Heating Costs With Simple Tricks
By themselves, each of these little tricks might not do much to reduce your heating costs. But all together they can give you a huge drop on your heating bills throughout the Winter.
Jersey Coast Appliance can help with all of your heating needs during the Winter. We can show you how to reduce heating costs in your home. Whether you need maintenance done on your gas furnace or some advice for keeping your house warm, we have the skills and knowledge to solve all your problems. Contact us today for more information on how to reduce heating costs in your home.