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It’s a fact that a considerable chunk of your energy bill is taken up by heating costs. Whether it’s powered by electricity or fuel sources like gas or oil, your heating system is an energy-guzzling machine, and it’s something that we can and should live with since not having one translates to a world of discomfort during the winter months, to say the least.
Our heating bills, however, don’t have to be that high. There are many things we can do to lower our heating costs. Spending some money on heating system repair or improving insulation in your home is a smart way to go about reducing your heating bill this winter. So are the following:
Letting the sunshine in
The sun will keep on shining no matter how cold the winter gets, so on sunny winter days, keep your drapes and curtains open to let in some of that sunlight—and the heat it brings. If your home has trees or shrubs close to your windows that block the rays of the sun, then you need to give them a little trimming. In the evening, close your drapes and curtains to keep whatever heat you’ve accumulated during the day inside your home.
Adjusting the thermostat at night
We know how warm and comfortable we’ll be during cold winter nights with the thermostat turned up. However, if you’re serious about reducing your heating bill, then you might want to heed what the U.S. Department of Energy has to say about turning your thermostat down at night.
According to the government agency, adjusting your thermostat to about 10 to 15 degrees lower than usual for eight hours can help you save 10 percent on your heating bills per year.
To compensate for the temperature adjustment, consider buying flannel sheets to keep you warm and toasty as you sleep.
It’s strange when people complain about the cold, turn the thermostat all the way up, and then walk around the house wearing shorts, sleeveless undershirts, or any clothing that would have been more appropriate for the summer.
You can stay warm indoors without setting your thermostat high by wearing sweaters or dressing in layers. Or you can carry around a blanket with you anywhere you go inside your home. If you find wearing thick clothing while indoors inconvenient, just think of the money you would be saving on your energy bill with the thermostat set a few degrees lower.
Using ceiling fans
Warm air always rises to the ceiling. To keep that warm air right where you and everyone in the household are, use a ceiling fan. Just make sure that it’s set to spin clockwise at low speed to draw cool air upwards and push the warm air down.
Turning the heat off in unused rooms
When you have guest rooms but no guests, then you should be able to get lots of energy savings by closing off the vents there and sealing them. You should do the same thing to basements and other seldom-used or occupied areas of your house.
Not messing with your thermostat too much
When you constantly tinker with the set temperature on your thermostat, your furnace is forced to stop and start, and that makes for a very inefficient operation. Furnaces (and AC units as well) are supposed to run for longer and steadier times to be energy-efficient.
While it’s understandable for some to make those adjustments to levels that are comfortable to them, leaving your thermostat alone at an optimal setting is still one of the best ways to save money on your electricity bill.
Cleaning or replacing your filters
Your furnace or heat pump has an air filter that you must clean or replace every three months, although other HVAC specialists recommend that you do it monthly. If you neglect to do this, the filter will accumulate enough dust and dirt to affect airflow and make your heating unit work harder. That would impact its efficiency and eventually lead to higher utility bills.
Using a humidifier
A humidifier doesn’t just make the dry air inside your home during freezing spells a little moister. It can also make you feel warmer, so instead of messing with your thermostat, run a humidifier and hit two birds with one stone.
Giving your heating system a tuneup
Getting your heating system an annual tuneup is one of the surefire ways that it will run at utmost efficiency. That translates to a very comfortable winter for you and your family and substantial energy savings every year.
If there’s ever a perfect time to give your heating system a tuneup, then that would be during the fall right before the onset of winter. By having preventive maintenance and repairs done in advance by capable hands, you should be able to avoid costly (and extremely inconvenient) breakdowns in the middle of winter.
While we can do just about every tip listed above by ourselves, but a heating tuneup is best left in the hands of an HVAC professional you can trust.
Reducing your heating bill for the winter takes a combination of smart, proactive measures and lifestyle changes on your part. With the exception of a tip or two, all of the ones listed above do not really cost you anything, so don’t think twice about implementing any or all of them this winter.