18 Tips to Start Saving on Your Heating Bill Now!
Are you dreading a heating bill that skyrockets over wintertime? Energy conservations is within your reach. The energy saving tips below can get you started on the road toward a lower heating bill today.
Keep heat from leaking out your windows by locking them.
As simple as it may sound, locking windows pushes them more tightly together. When cold weather comes to stay, take a tour through your house and lock those windows.
Approximately 7% - 12% of heat can slip through cracks in doors and windows.
Even if windows and unused doors are locked, you may still find cracks that let the winter wind come whistling through.
On a windy day, carry a candle through the house, paying close attention to whether or not wind blows the flame when you near windows and doors. Sometimes you can feel the draft by moving your hand over the frame.
- Seal small cracks with caulk.
- Foam sealant works well for larger gaps. Beware that it is hard to remove excess foam before it dries. Rather wait until it hardens and remove the extra with a knife.
- A crack below the door spells trouble. Install weather stripping on the bottom of doors, and replace any old, cracked weatherstripping.
To replace the weatherstripping:
Remove the door by first closing it and then popping out the hinge pins.
Place the door on a flat work surface so you can easily screw the new weatherstripping in place.
Don't let your sofa soak up the heat that belongs to you.
Foam in upholstered furniture absorbs heat. Keep furniture away from the air vents to make best use of your heat energy and allow free airflow.
Let the free heat knocking on your window panes come inside!
Open the curtains and blinds during the day, especially on the side of the house where the sun shines most.
If there are shrubs and tree branches blocking the sun's rays, consider trimming them back to allow more sun to enter the house.
It's best to keep curtains and blinds closed where it's too shaded for heat to penetrate.
Close curtains at dusk to keep the warmth inside and shut the cold out. Maybe you want to check out quilted curtains. They look homey and provide extra insulation against the cold.
Hang extra curtains on single-paned, external doors.
Clean windows not only give a clear view of the outside world, but they also maximize the solar energy that wants to come inside. Keep the glass clean, especially the glass on the south-facing side of the house.
Cover your windows with plastic film - a temporary fix for the winter season that is guaranteed to keep those drafts out of your house.
Covering your windows with plastic is easy to do. You can buy kits that contain everything you need. The quality of tape in the kits varies, so you may want to ask a friend what brand he found works best.
How to Cover your Windows with Plastic
- Measure the window to see how big to cut the plastic. If there are no obstructions, you can fasten the plastic directly to the wall around the window.
- Clean the surface with alcohol all the way around the window where you plan to apply the double-sided tape.
- Stick the double-sided tape around the window, pressing down to make sure it holds firmly.
- Peel the paper off the top side of the tape to expose the second sticky side.
- Starting at the top of the window, press the plastic fast to the tape. Don't stretch too hard or the plastic may come loose from the tape. If there is a little slack in the plastic, we can take care of that in the next step.
- Shrink the plastic using a hair dryer or heat gun. Since the plastic is low temperature heat shrink, be careful not to apply too much heat. Also, be careful not to shrink the plastic so tight that it pulls away from the tape and comes loose.
- Trim excess plastic off the edges with a utility knife and enjoy a bedroom that is a couple degrees cozier.
Weatherproof your keyholes and letter boxes.
As insignificant as they may seem, your heat can wiggle its way out through these small holes.
You can buy flaps to cover keyholes and letter boxes. Or you could install a letter box on the wall outside instead of having a slot in your door.
Save money two ways when you cook dinner for your family.
Cooking dinner heats up the kitchen and saves you the takeout bill at the local restaurant.
When finished baking, open the oven door and let the leftover heat envelop the kitchen. And your family will love you for taking the time to make them a fresh pan of apple crisp!
Reverse the spin of your ceiling fans to evenly distribute the warm air.
When you set the direction of your ceiling fan to clockwise and run it on low speed, the fan pulls the cold air up. The warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, is forced back down and warms up the part of the room where the people are. While redistributing the warm air, the fan eliminates those pockets of cold air that want to make chilly corners.
Changing the direction of your ceiling fan is as easy as 1,2,3.
- Of course, you will need to turn the fan off and wait for the blades to stop spinning.
- Get a stool so you can climb up and find the switch on the motor housing.
- Flip the switch to the opposite direction.
With a simple turn of the temperature control, you could save 3% - 5% of the energy spent to heat your water.
Often hot water heaters are set to 140 degrees F. Although 140 degrees is guaranteed to kill bacteria, it may scald you in the shower if you aren't careful. As low as 120 degrees F is still considered safe unless you have a suppressed immune system.
Play around with lowering the water temperature on your hot water heater until you find the setting that is right for you.
Reward yourself for turning your water heater down by buying a towel warmer.
A towel warmer is a towel rack heated by electric or hot water running through the pipes. The towel warmer saves energy because it gives you the courage to turn the temperature on your water heater down and also acts as a small space heater.
A towel warmer heats your towel or bathrobe while you are in the shower, giving you something cozy to wrap up in when you are finished!
Hang your wet towel on the warmer, and it will dry it out for you. Because it reduces the dampness in the room, the towel warmer cuts down the possibility of mold.
A towel warmer isn't only useful in the bathroom. Hang it in the mudroom or entryway, and you have a wonderful place for your children to hang their wet coats, gloves, and hats after playing in the snow. No more decorating the house with winter clothes trying to find sufficient place to dry them before the children head back outside for some more winter fun!
Conserve energy by washing clothes at lower temperatures.
Do you really need to wash clothes on the hot setting? Wouldn't warm water get your clothes just as clean? Which loads could you wash on cold and not know the difference?
Another simple way to save energy…it doesn't cost you any extra dollars to try it and may save you a few if you do!
Turn the pressure down on the shower.
Fewer pennies will go down the drain in the form of unused hot water.
Wrap your hot water heater in a blanket. Is this energy saving tip for you?
If your hot water heater has a tank, then it is a likely candidate for a blanket. Tankless water heaters are usually efficient without.
If your hot water heater is located in a cold place such as a garage, unfinished basement, or outdoor closet, a blanket will help the heater to maintain consistent internal temperature. Your heater won't have to work as hard and the blanket will pay itself off.
But if you live in Florida, the outdoor temperature likely will not drop low enough to make a hot water heater blanket worthwhile.
Caution: Be sure you understand how to install the blanket before doing it yourself.
If you have a gas water heater, never smother the flame. Do not cover the top where the exhaust escapes or the bottom side of the heater.
For an electric heater, don't cover the heating access panel. It's usually best to leave the temperature relief valve and the controller uncovered as well.
Set your water heater down to at least 130 degrees F to prevent melting the blanket.
Would you like to hear a tip that could save you 10% a year on your heating costs?
Turn the thermostat down 7 - 10 degrees for 8 hours each day!
You save roughly 1% on your electric bill for every degree you turn down your thermostat.
Scared of a cold house? Start by lowering the thermostat while you are away from home.
Because your home takes 30 minutes to cool down, you could turn the heat back half an hour before you go to bed.
If you're not the kind who likes to manually play with thermostat settings, buy a programmable thermostat. Then you can program the thermostat to turn the heat back at times when you're routinely away from home, and it can turn the heat back up a half hour before you get out of bed!
And remember, turning your thermostat to a low setting usually saves more energy than turning it completely off and back on.
If you are renting a house and don't have control over the type of heating installed, consider zoned heating.
Some types of heating are expensive enough that zoned heating pays off. Turn the house temperature back and use a small space heater or two in the rooms where you and your family spend the most time.
Do the calculations to compare the money you are saving by turning the thermostat back to the cost of the small heaters. There are many variables, and zoned heating may or may not be the answer for you.
Keep cool air from coming in through an unused chimney.
A chimney balloon can save double the amount that it costs. It blocks the cool air and can be deflated and used multiple times.
- Partially inflate the chimney balloon.
- Use a flashlight to look up the chimney and find where you want to put the balloon.
- Place the balloon in the chimney, making sure the nozzle is accessible.
- Open the dial and blow to inflate.
- Place the warning tab in a visible place so that you don't start a fire before removing the chimney balloon.
Make sure the chimney damper is closed when the chimney is not in use.
Although insulation may involve more cost, it also involves bigger savings.
It is estimated that 35% of heat is lost through the walls and 25% of heat escapes through the roof of an uninsulated house.
What are key areas that save energy if insulated or sealed properly?
- Access door to the attic.
- Beneath the attic floor.
- First story floor. Insulate under the floor if you have a cellar space.
- Electrical boxes.
- Gaps around pipes, gas lines, electrical cables, and water pipes.
Water heating is the second largest expense in a home. How can we save energy on heating water?
If you are enthusiastic about efficiency and saving on heating costs, install solar panels!
Solar energy is an investment that more than pays for itself.
Looking at some of these tips, you probably shake your head and say, "That's not for me."
You don't have to do it all to be successful. Find at least one tip that fits you, and implement it today!