December 5, 2022
Posted: November 21, 2022 1:57 pm
With inflation wreaking havoc on budgets and economists forecasting a strong possibility of a recession in the coming months, many Americans are filling the pinch as they try to heat their homes. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), energy prices are up 18% this year. This is in addition to the increase of 17% recorded last year. Here are a few tips to help you to cut down on your heating bill heading into the coldest part of the year.
Install a Smart Thermostat
While it will cost you money upfront, an investment in a smart thermostat will pay off quickly. A smart thermostat gives you the freedom to control the temperature in your house when you are not even home. This means that you can turn it down when you are gone and use your phone to fire it back up when you are on your way home. Turning down the mercury just a few degrees can yield significant savings.
Replace Furnace Filters
One of the easiest things that you can do to reduce your energy costs is to get in the habit of regularly changing your furnace filters. Dirty filters cause the furnace to work harder, increasing heating costs in the process. You should aim to change your filter once every three months when it is in use. It is also a good strategy to have the furnace unit inspected by a professional to ensure that it is operating at maximum efficiency.
Turn Down the Water Heater
It is not just the furnace that may be sending your energy bills soaring. Manually turning down the water heater temperature can also cut your heating costs. You do not need to take a shower with scalding hot water. Turning the temperature down just a few days can translate to significant savings. In addition, try cutting the length of your showers in half to save even more money.
Close Unused Vents
There is no need to heat rooms of the house that are not in regular use. Do you have a spare bedroom that is only used on occasion? Consider closing the door and then shutting the vents into that room. This will direct the heat to the other areas of the home.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Many homeowners mistakenly only use their ceiling fan as a vehicle to cool rooms during the summer. These fans also work to push warm air near the top of the room back down. This will keep all of the house slightly warmer, taking the load off of your heating system. However, you need to set your fan to run in a clockwise motion to push this warm air down. Most fans are programmed to run in a counterclockwise direction for cooling purposes.
Seal Doors and Windows
Savvy homeowners take time before the start of the winter season to check all doors and windows to make sure that they are properly sealed. Ill-fitting windows and doors are more likely to let in drafts, bringing in the cold air and forcing heating units to work overtime. Be sure to replace weatherstripping as needed. One quick trick is to light a candle and watch the trail of smoke to see if it is being tugged in a particular direction. This could be an indication of a draft.
Use Your Drapes Wisely
One simple strategy to heat your home more efficiently is to open all drapes when the sun is shining. The natural heat of the sun can warm a home a few degrees during the heat of the day. Just be sure to shut the drapes again when the sun sets and the temperature drops again.
Inspect Attic Insulation
Do not neglect the attic when looking to prevent heat from escaping. It is a good practice to inspect your attic insulation every few years. You should ensure that the attic is insulated by at least 11 inches of fiberglass.
Lastly, do not discount the power of simply adding a few extra layers of clothing when hanging around the house. This is the perfect time of year to get cozy in those soft flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks. Warm up with a mug of tea or a sherpa blanket for an extra effect.
While none of these steps will cut hundreds of dollars off your monthly heating bills, all of the steps together will provide a significant impact. It is well worth your effort to put these tips into practice today.
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