Heating your home can be one of your biggest winter expenses. Whether you’re in a condo, apartment, or house, these six tips can help you lower your heating costs – without sacrificing comfort.
1. Re-think your thermostat setting. Set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature and don’t be afraid to dress in layers. Then, when you leave the house or go to bed, lower your thermostat a few extra degrees. Turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees for 8 hours could save you 5-15% a year on your heating bill, sites Earth Care and Energy.gov.
2. Double check your furnace or heating system. Like your car or any other machine, your furnace or heating system runs more efficiently when it’s well maintained. For instance, fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test could improve its gas mileage by 4%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A poorly maintained furnace can be a safety hazard, is less efficient, and can also waste energy and cost you money according to the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC). Follow manufacturer guidelines, have your furnace inspected regularly, and check your ductwork for leaks.
If you live in an apartment and feel that it’s too hot, don’t just open a window. Your landlord may be willing to work with you to help solve the problem. Helping your landlord save on heating could help you save money too.
3. Put your draperies and ceiling fans to work. Open your curtains or blinds during the day to allow sunlight in, and then close them after sundown to help hold warm air inside your home. You can also set your ceiling fans to run clockwise on low speed, which helps to keep warm air, which rises, circulating.
4. Look for cracks. According to Indiana’s OUCC, just several small holes or cracks throughout your home lets out as much warm air as one open window. Brr! Check the weather strips, caulk, and seals around your doors and windows for separation. Weather-stripping and caulking are so cost-effective that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that when used correctly, the cost of caulking and weather-stripping is offset by lower utility costs within one year.
5. Lower your water heater temperature to 115 or 120. Each 10 degree reduction can save you $12-$30 annually, reports Energy.gov. You can also install a low-flow showerhead which will not only help reduce your water use, but will also reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water.
6. Invest in a humidifier. You’ll feel warmer in your home if the air is not too dry. Maintaining the relative humidity between 20% and 40% will allow you to lower the thermostat setting without feeling too cold, writes Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Group.
Do you have any budget-friendly tips for lowering your heating bill? Let us know how you’re staying warm and saving money in the comments below!