10 Ways to Easily Reduce Your Home Heating Bill
The economy is in the dumps and energy costs are as high as they’ve ever been in recent history. Saving money and reducing costs is more important than ever, and one of the simplest ways is to reduce your home heating expenses. I’ve compiled ten tips that are easy, very cost effective and can quickly add up to decrease your home heating bills significantly. These don’t require you to be a home improvement expert either! Many can be done is as little as a minute or two. Remember that even small changes can add up to large savings during the course of a year.
Here are 10 tips that I have used and personally recommend to save on home heating expenses:
- Locate your hot water heater and lower the setting of the hot water thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Normally the adjustment dial is located near the bottom of the water tank via a red knob. Turn it down several degrees but I don’t suggest going lower than about 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Locate your central air heating unit and ensure that the filters are clean. Clogged or dirty air filters force the air unit to work harder than normal, and stay on longer, in order to move the same amount of air…kind of like a human heart with a clogged artery.
- Inspect your air ducts for any leaks, gaps or disconnects – these can easily be responsible for a heating bill that is 20% higher, or more, than if you were to seal these leaks. Hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself – they can also clean the air ducts if necessary. The cost for hiring an expert will easily pay for itself in heating bill savings.
- This one takes seconds and is so easy – Lower your thermostat several degrees. Trust me the savings will really add up over time. For example: instead of keeping your home at 70 degrees, try lowering the temperature to 66 degrees. You may need to dress just a little warmer but you will quickly appreciate a significantly lower energy bill every month.
- If you have an older style thermostat, consider replacing it with one that is programmable. The idea here is to set the thermostat to automatically lower the temperature in your home at night. Most people sleep better in a cooler room anyways, so why waste the heat. Additionally, if you spend the day away at work you should lower the temperature during that time. Simply set the thermostat to start warming your house a few minutes before you arrive back home. Programmable thermostats are not very expensive and can be easily installed and programmed by most do-it-yourselfers.
- Heat rises so ensure your attic is properly insulated. A poorly insulated attic is one of the quickest ways to watch your heat, and heating bill, go literally through the roof! This step will require more effort to do yourself, or consider hiring a professional to get the job done…again the energy savings will easily pay for the cost in a short period of time, and save you bundles of cash over the years. You’ll need to measure the attic square footage, then purchase enough rolls of insulation to fit the space. Your local home improvement store can help you complete this job by recommending the correct insulation type and rating for your climate. Remember to wear long sleeves, gloves and a mask as insulation can cause irritation to the skin and lungs.
- Find all those hidden leaks, holes and cracks in your house. This especially applies to older homes. All of these can easily add up to the equivalent of a small window being left wide open – allowing the hot and cold air in and out, depending upon the season. Do a little detective work and find those gaps around doors, windows, dryer ducts, electrical lines, phone lines, pipes and more. Place weather stripping in gaps around windows and doors. Other gaps and cracks can be filled with foam insulation which is available in a spray can with an applicator tube that lets you fill in all those tight spots. The insulation foam expands, allowing it to fill the smallest of gaps.
- During the day open the blinds or curtains for all the windows and allow the sunshine to naturally heat up your house. Direct sunlight can dramatically heat up a home. Then make sure to close your window coverings back up during the evening for additional insulation and help keep that heat in. It may be surprising how effective a window covering can be at insulating a window.
- Most people have rooms they rarely use. Make sure to close any heating vents and doors in these rooms. It makes no sense to spend money and waste energy to heat up extra rooms that are seldom ever used.
- If you have a fireplace make sure you are following these tips. If you don’t use your fireplace, ensure the damper is securely closed. When the damper is closed, check it and see if you can still feel cold air leaking in. When you do use your fireplace, ensure that you adjust the heating for the rest of your home by turning it off or reducing it.
For optimal heat savings, consider getting a home energy audit
By investing a little time (or money) now and following these energy saving tips you will dramatically slash your home heating expenses. Most of the tips can be completed in a single day, but will pay dividends for as long as you live in your home. Depending upon how many of the tips you are able to implement, you can expect heating bills to be up to 25% lower or more each month. So get to work on these tips and count the money you’ll save next month on your heating costs.