As the cold season approaches, you might be thinking about holiday get-togethers, playing in the snow with your kids, and unfortunately, massive heating bills. Although the chilly season offers a gorgeous setting and a nice break from the sweltering summer, it can be tricky to foot the bill for indoor climate control. However, you might be able to make those utility bills a little less painful to rip open by using these three easy ways to save money on heating.
1: Set Back Your Thermostat While You Are Away
If you are like most people, you probably think of your thermostat setting as a one-temp-fits-all-season type of thing. Instead of using that programming feature that most standard thermostat models offer, you might decide on a single temperature, set it, and forget it. Unfortunately, even if you select a lower-than-average heat setting as your permanent wintertime temperature, you might be paying to heat your home when nobody is around.
However, you might be able to save up to 15% each year on your heating bill by turning your thermostat back 10-15 degrees for 8 hours. To put that number into perspective, if you spend $2,000 each year on energy costs, or $167 a month, you might be able to lower that bill to $1,700 per year, or $142 each month, just by programming your thermostat.
To start saving money right away, think carefully about your schedule. Program your thermostat to automatically lower the house temperature when your family will be at work or school. If you want to program your system even more accurately, pay attention to how long it takes your furnace to warm your home. By understanding that time frame, you can give your heater enough time to make your home toasty before people start getting home for the day.
If you don't have a programmable thermostat, a local heating contractor will be able to install one for you.
2: Open the Shades
Have you ever noticed that during the summer those windows let in a ton of heat? Although you might feel like sunshine is your enemy during the warmer months, it can be your best friend during the dead of winter. Believe it or not, the light that pours into your home through those windowpanes can account for as much as 90% of unwanted heat gain during the summer, but you can use it to your advantage during the cold season.
To make the most of heat-generating UV light, identify the side of your house that gets the most sun in the afternoon. Open the shades on that side of the house during the sunny parts of the day to let the light warm up your space. When the sun goes down, make sure to close all of the blinds and shades tightly.
This simple move can help you to capture natural warmth and trap it inside of your home. Because your place will be a little warmer than normal, your heater won't have to switch on to adjust the temperature, which will save you money.
3: Close Vents in Unused Rooms
You might love your home for the large unfinished basement or extra supply of bedrooms, but you might be paying a steep price to keep those unused spaces warm during the winter. Unfortunately, because you might not spend a lot of time in guest bedrooms or storage areas, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you are pumping carefully heated air into empty spaces.
However, you might be able to make your heat count by simply closing the vents in rooms you aren't using. Walk through your home when the heater is running to look for vents. You might be surprised to find vents in areas that you didn't even know were heated. By closing the vents in unused areas, you can allow your heater to push more warm air into the areas of your home where you need it and keep your heater from running more frequently than it should.
Making the best use of the heat you have and taking the time to program your thermostat will help you to keep your house toasty warm, without breaking the bank.