How to Save Money on Heating in the Winter
Research shows that the average American spends over $1,000 each winter on extra items like gifts, travel, decor, and more! Add an excessive heating bill to that and you’re wallet will be hurting come spring.
So how can you cut back this winter and save yourself some serious dough?
Here are 8 effective ways to save money on heating during the winter months so you can spend it on more fun things, or save it for a non-snowy day.
1. Clean Your Vents
Cleaning your vents should be a regular thing all year long. Doing so keeps your air cleaner and is safer for your health. Allergens are less likely to circulate through your home when vents are replaced and cleaned every few months.
Allergens also serve as insulators. If you want equal amounts of heat and fresh air flowing into each room, wipe your vents down and remove built-up dust.
This also helps your furnace from over-working to pump enough warm air out past the buildup.
2. Utilize Your Windows
We know it’s tempting to close your windows all winter to make things cozy or trap in the heat. But opening up your blinds each morning can go a long way in warming your house!
It’s true that 10-25% of your home’s heat loss can be through your open windows. But with some know-how, you can open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the day so the sunlight works to heat your home instead of cool it down.
Consider this a cheaper way of going “solar” than having panels installed…
It’ll also do a lot to save money on heating.
3. Get Your Furnace Serviced
A quality furnace should last you for 20-30 years if you take good care of it.
This means you need to get regular furnace checks and maintenance done. It’s wise to get your furnace serviced before the winter cold sets in and problems occur. No one wants to find themselves without heat when the first big frost or snowstorm arrives.
If you’re serious about taking good care of your furnace, it’s recommended to have it looked at by a professional twice every year. But, for most home-owners, once a year before winter is usually sufficient.
4. Use Your Ceiling Fans
This may seem counter-intuitive during winter months when you’re trying to stay warm. But remember middle-school science when you learned that “hot air rises?”
It’s true. The warm air in your home often rises to the ceiling, getting trapped and leaving you feeling chilly on your couch.
Turning your ceiling fans on to low will help circulate that trapped warm air around the room and prevent your furnace from pumping out more and more warm air to raise the room’s overall temperature.
5. Program Your Thermostat
If you have a smart thermostat or programmable thermostat, winter is a great time to use it. Using one could save you major bucks–anywhere from 10-20% on your energy bill the whole year.
Your best method for saving money on heating is to program your thermostat as follows:
- Raise temp when you wake.
- Lower temp when you leave for work.
- Raise when you return home.
- Lower when you go down for bed.
You can save 1% of your bill for every degree you lower your thermostat for an 8 hour period. That means during that long, 8-hour workday, you could slash your bill if you’ve programmed things well.
By the end of one week of winter- heating costs, the amount you’ll have saved by using a programmable thermostat will pay for it. It’s totally worth the investment if saving is important to you.
6. Lower Your Thermostat Temperature
As we mentioned, each degree you lower your thermostat’s temperature, will save you 1% of your bill (per 8 hours the temperature is lowered). Over the days, weeks, and months, of winter, this savings will add up.
Many home-owners feel they need to set their thermostat to a temperature they will be comfortable with sans sweaters or socks.
This is not the wisest savings choice…
If you’d rather spend your money on fun holiday plans, then we recommend not turning your thermostat up past 68 degrees during the day. At night, when you’re “all snug in your bed,” 55 degrees is a good temperature to keep you both comfortable and out of debt.
7. Remove Items Blocking Vents
Yes, this step is different from “cleaning your vents.” By this we mean, remove any items like furniture, boxes, or decorations that may be blocking your air vents. Sometimes, during the holidays especially, home-owners unintentionally block air vents with decorations or other items.
What this does is effectively ramp up your bill as your furnace is struggling to pump air through the closed-off vents.
Before winter, (and perhaps after decorating), do a thorough sweep of your home and make sure no items are preventing your air vents from blowing equal amounts of heat into your rooms.
8. Check for and Seal Air Leaks
During the warmer months of the year, leaks may be harder to detect. Unfortunately, many homes leak that expensive hot air out through cracks in windows, doors, attics and electrical outlets.
To find where your home may have hot air leaking out, wait until the weather turns a bit cooler. You can do a walkthrough of your home and feel if certain areas near doors and windows are letting in cold air.
Once you discover a leak, seal it off with weather stripping or caulk. These items are generally inexpensive and will end up saving you anywhere from 10-20% on your heating bill if done right.
More Ways to Save Money On Heating
If you’re serious about finding ways to save money on heating this winter, talk to your energy provider about monthly equal-payment plans or other suggested methods for lowering your bill.
For more ideas on caring for your home as the seasons change, browse the Home portion of our blog. Happy heating!