Beautiful snowfalls, holidays spent with family, snowmen, and sparkling icicles are just some of the wonderful signs of winter. Unfortunately, increased heating bills can be a side effect of the season, too. But there's good news: I have some easy things you can do to keep those heating bills under control.
- Hang Up Heavy Curtains. Curtains that are lined or made of wool keep the warm air inside your home, preventing your furnace from working overtime.
- Set the Timer on Your Water Heater. When you set the timer on your water heater, you're stopping it from constantly heating water (burning energy) that isn't needed.
- Use Cold Water for Washing. Whenever possible, use cold water to wash your clothes to avoid using energy to heat the water.
- Switch the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan. Set your fan blades to run clockwise to distribute warm air around your home instead of cranking up the furnace.
- Skip the Dishwasher's Dry Cycle. Save energy by opening the dishwasher to air-dry dishes instead of running them through the dry cycle.
- Grill Out! Give your oven a break by grilling out a few nights a week this winter. Just imagine the fragrance of charcoal burning on a cold January night. Sounds wonderful, don't you think?
- Unplug Electronics. Unplug your toaster, microwave, computer, television, and other electronics when they aren't in use to stop needless energy drain.
- Learn About the Peak Hours for Utility Use. In the winter, the peak energy use hours are from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Reduce your utility use at these times to avoid paying higher energy prices.
- Invest in a Warm Blanket for Your Bed. When you invest in a warm blanket made of heavy material, you're less likely to turn up the thermostat before going to bed.
- Put Aluminum Foil Behind Your Radiator. Putting a sheet of aluminum foil on the wall behind your radiator helps to reflect the heat away from the wall and into the room.
- Put Down Some Rugs. Putting a rug down in your living room or in a hallway insulates your floor. If you don't want rugs on your floors year-round, you can roll them up to store in your garage over the spring and summer.
- Get a Programmable Thermostat. When you have a programmable thermostat, you have better control over the operation of your furnace. One big advantage is being able to set your thermostat to maintain a lower temperature when no one is at home.
- Secure the Glass Doors on Your Fireplace. Warm air can leave your home through your chimney, and cold air can enter your home the same way. Make sure the glass doors on your fireplace are secure to keep these two scenarios from happening.
- Get a Draft-Stopper. A draft-stopper prevents cold air from flowing in underneath your door and warm air from leaving.
- Invest in Wool Socks. Wool socks can keep your feet warm while you sleep and throughout the day. They protect your feet against cold floors and drafts. If you feel warm, you're less likely to crank up your furnace. Why not get a pair for everyone in the household?
After putting some of these tips into action, take a look at an older heating bill to see if there's a difference. You may be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for reading. - Alan