Here are the 10 tips that I have personally used to save on my home heating costs:
1. Head down to the basement and reduce the setting on your hot water thermostat by about 10 degrees. I wouldn’t go below 120-115 degrees. The adjustment dial is typically a red knob towards the bottom of the water tank.
2. While you are downstairs, make sure you have clean filters for your central air-heating unit. A dirty and clogged filter will force your unit to work much harder and stay on longer as it struggles to fresh air through the clogged filter to heat the rest of your house.
3. Check your air ducts for gaps, leaks or disconnects. If you have any disconnects or leaks in your ductwork, your heating bills could be 25% higher than they need to be if these gaps were sealed. If you can’t do this on your own, hire a professional. This expert can also clean your ducts for added efficiency.
4. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees lower. Believe me, this really adds up. It may not seem like much of a difference to you, but you will notice the difference when you get a lower bill each month!
5. While we are on the subject of thermostats, consider replacing yours if it is not programmable. The reason is, you can set the thermostat so the temperature setting in your house is lower at night than during the day when you are awake. Also, if you are away at work during the day, you can set it for a lower temperature and have it programmed to start heating the house a little bit before you come home. These aren’t too expensive and are easy to install and configure yourself.
6. Insulate your attic. Heat rises, right? If your attic isn’t properly insulated, all of the heat in your house (and your money) goes right through the roof. Literally! This does require some effort on your part, but following through on this tip will save you a ton of money over the years. Measure the square footage of your attic and buy rolls of insulation, greater than R-13 but no higher than R-30. Wear a mask and gloves when working with insulation because it irritates the skin.
7. Find those leaks and cracks! If you were to add up all of the small cracks and holes in your house, they would probably add up to a small window, wide open, letting cold air in and hot air out. Take the time to find gaps in windows, doors, pipes, electrical and phone lines, your dryer duct and much more. Put weather-strips around your doors and windows. You can buy insulation foam that comes in a can with a straw at the top that allows you to fill in tight spaces. It expands to fill even the smallest cracks. Of all of the tasks, this was the most fun finding and filling these gaps all around the house.
8. Close the vents in rooms that you do not use. I have one room in my house that is not currently in use. I shut the hot air ducts and made sure the windows and doors were properly sealed to limit energy leakage. Why waste your money heating up extra square footage of your house that you don’t even use?
9. Open drapes and shades for all of your windows during the day to let the sun heat your home. In the evening, pull them back down for added insulation. It is amazing how much direct sunlight streaming into your home helps to heat things up.
10. Your fireplace can help and hurt your heating costs. If you are not using your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. When it is closed, inspect the damper and feel if cold air is still leaking in. If you are using your fireplace, make sure the heating in the rest of your house is reduced or turned off.
Taking the time to implement these tips will drastically reduce your home heating bills. You can get most of them done in just one day, but the payoff will last for as long as you live there! I followed through on each one of these tips and the following winter, my bills were about 25% lower, saving about $100 a month! So roll up your sleeves follow these tips and start saving money on your heating costs!