Did you get an unwelcome surprise every time you opened your heating bill last winter? Well, I have good news. If you're on a mission to lower your heating bill this winter, there are some easy things you can do to accomplish that goal.
- Put Weather-Stripping on Windows and Doors. Weather-stripping is an inexpensive purchase that can block cold air from leaking in through windows and doors. Simply remove the backing from the weather-stripping, unroll it, and secure it around the edges of your doors and windows. Run your fingers around the edges of your windows and doors to make sure you covered all of the areas where air is leaking out or in. You can save from 10% to 15% on your energy bill by closing leaks around windows and doors.
- Exchange Light Curtains for Heavy Drapes. If you have windows that let cold air in and warm air out, take down lightweight curtains and put up heavy drapes for the winter. These will block the cold air from coming in. Plus, you can open them midday to let the sunlight help to warm your rooms. Another idea I like is leaving the lightweight curtains up and adding the heavy curtains on the outer edge of the curtain rod. That way, you can open the heavy curtains on a sunny day to let some warmth into the room but leave the lightweight ones closed.
- Install Storm Doors and Windows. Storm doors and windows are investments that are worth making. They are designed to keep warm air in and cold air out. They are an effective extra layer in the fight to keep the warm air inside your home.
- Change the Direction of Your Fan. When a ceiling fan is turning clockwise, it pushes warm air down from the ceiling and into the living space. A ceiling fan is relatively inexpensive, and by setting the fan's direction, you can give your furnace a break for a while.
- Turn Down the Temperature on Your Water Heater. Check the temperature setting on your water heater. If it's set at the typical 140 degrees, consider turning it down to 120 degrees. It takes less energy to heat the water to 120 degrees, and you'll hardly notice a difference in the temperature of your shower, bath, etc.
- Put in a Programmable Thermostat. If you have a traditional thermostat, think about swapping it out for a programmable one. You can purchase one online and install it yourself following the instructions. You'll be able to set the heat for certain times of day and control it remotely, so it doesn't run when no one is at home. You can save 10% per year on your utility bill by setting your thermostat at a lower temperature while you're out of the house for most of the day.
- Change Your Furnace Filter. Check the filter in your furnace every two or three months to see if it is clogged with hair, dust, and other debris. If it is, swap it out for a new one so the furnace can work at top efficiency to deliver heat into your home. Changing your filter and keeping your furnace running efficiently can save you 7.5% on your bill each month.
- Do the Bubble Wrap Trick. If you don't have storm windows, you may want to try the bubble wrap trick. Trim a piece of bubble wrap so it fits perfectly over your window. Spray your window with a light film of water and stick the bubble wrap against it. This simple fix keeps the heat from escaping while allowing sunlight to warm your room.
- Check the Chimney Damper. If you have a fireplace in your home, it may be allowing warm air out and cold air in through its damper. The damper is the flap you open when you want to start a fire in the fireplace. Reach into your fireplace and make sure the damper is securely closed while the fireplace is not in use.
Try one or more of these money-saving ideas this winter and see how much of a difference it makes on your heating bill. Thanks for reading. - Alan