There’s nothing cozier than cuddling up on the couch in a warm home on a cold winter’s day, but when the heating bill comes, you’ll quickly change your mind and frantically look for ways to save money on heating.
We found 13 ways to save money on heating – and fortunately it doesn’t involve just dealing with the cold and hoping for the best. With a little thinking outside the box, you can lower your energy bill and be comfortable too.
Take Advantage of the Sun
If you have room darkening window treatments, you’re sending the sun’s energy right back outside. Instead, let it inside, by opening up the drapes and blinds when you wake up.
Let the sun heat up your rooms during the day with the curtains or blinds open. When the sun goes down, close the windows and doors by covering them up with efficient window treatments that keep the cold air outside.
This traps the heat in your room, and decreases how often the furnace must run.
Close Doors of Rooms you Don’t Use
If you have rooms no one uses (spare bedrooms for example), close the doors. With no one going in and out of the room, the heat will stay in the room. This leaves more warm air in other rooms, the rooms you use.
If you can, keep most doors closed to trap the heat in the room so you don’t lose precious hot air and make the furnace run longer than it has to.
Check your Windows and Doors
The number one culprit of air leaks is windows and doors. Visually inspect all windows and doors, looking for obvious holes or missing weather stripping. But don’t stop there.
Take a match around each window and door and see if it stays lit. If it flickers, you have a leak and need fresh weather stripping or caulk around the window. If your windows are old and drafty, it may be time to consider replacing them with newer more efficient windows.
Stop Using the Kitchen and Bathroom Fans
Kitchen and bathroom fans suck moisture out of the rooms and sometimes even odors, but in the winter, they also suck the warm air. Try to avoid using fans in either room or at least only use them sporadically so you don’t use up the hot air and make your furnace work harder. Installing a light switch with a timer can
Change Air Filters
Not changing your air filters does two things – makes your energy costs higher and makes your furnace work harder. This leads to higher energy bills and heavy use of your furnace that could lead your furnace to need premature repairs or even premature replacement. Try replacing your filters at least once a month.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
There’s no reason to run the thermostat normally when you’re not home or while sleeping. Install a smart thermostat (for example, from Ecobee or Nest) and it will recognize your patterns, changing the temperature just before you come home or wake up in the morning while using less energy on your home heating system when you don’t need it.
Use your Vents
When’s the last time you walked around your house and made sure all heating vents were clear? Furniture, clothes, and other household items can block the vent, which means the hot air can’t get into the room. The furnace must work harder to keep your house at the right temperature, which means higher energy costs.
Reverse your Ceiling Fan
You may not think to run your ceiling fan in the winter, but in the reverse setting, it works well in the winter. Since hot air rises, the air from the furnace goes right to the ceiling. A fan on reverse (slow mode) will push the air back down, allowing it to stay in the home and increase the home’s energy efficiency.
Keep the Bathroom Warm with a Space Heater
Use them with caution, but a space heater is a much more cost efficient way to heat up a bathroom when you get out of the shower than turning up the furnace. Use the space heater only when you’re in the shower and you’ll cut your energy bills down.
Bake or Cook Something in the Oven
You need to eat, so why not cook in the oven where you can get double duty out of the hot air? Once you've cooked your meal, open the oven door slightly and the hot air will heat up your home without using the furnace.
Get your Furnace Looked At
Don’t let a year go by without having your furnace inspected. Yearly inspections do two things – they make sure you’ll have heating at home and can catch problems early on. The earlier you catch issues with your furnace, the less money they’ll cost. Plus, an inspector can tell if your furnace isn’t working efficiently, leaving you with higher energy costs than necessary.
Dress for the Colder Weather
Just like your parents said when you were a kid, ‘bundle up.’ Wear layers and always wear socks. Keep your body warm and you won’t have to worry about using as much energy with the furnace.
Get an Energy Audit
It may cost you a little money, but an energy audit could be worth it. A professional can tell you where you lose energy efficiency and how you can increase it. Oftentimes it’s small changes that make a big difference.
Save money on heating by using some or all of these tips. They are a great way to save the life of your furnace and use less heat. While bundling up is a great way to cut down on furnace use, there are other more comfortable ways to make sure you decrease your energy bills.
Make it a habit to always check your home for energy efficiency. You never know when moving a couch, shutting a door, or turning on a ceiling fan can make a tremendous difference in your energy bills.