The calendar officially says fall and, believe it or not, winter is right around the corner. Unfortunately, the colder months can be some of the priciest due to heating bills.
While the cost to heat your home can vary based on where you live – Forbes.com lists Boston, Mass. as the most expensive city to heat a home with average annual heating costs at $1,924 – there are steps you can take to save money regardless of your zip code.
Maintain your furnace. Cleaning and tuning the furnace helps assure safety and efficiency. Tuning may involve resetting the fuel air mixture for proper combustion, and cleaning of the blower and burners to assure maximum airflow and complete combustion. Additionally, changing the furnace filter increases efficiency by allowing proper airflow.
Reduce thermostat settings. Reduce your thermostat setting to 68 degrees and you can save substantially on heating costs. Afraid that will be too cold for comfort? Layer up and add a sweater and a warm pair of socks – both can go a long way to increase comfort in a cooler house.
Keep it cooler at night. Setting the thermostat back 10 degrees at night or when the house will be unoccupied can save up to 15 percent on heating costs. While it is true the furnace will have to run more to reheat the house, the energy saved while the home is cooler more than offsets the extra run time to reheat the home.
Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats provide the ability to lower the home temperature at night and during the day and still have the home warm when you get up or arrive home from work. Many programmable thermostats can be found for less than $50.
Let sunshine in. Open drapes on the south side of your home during winter days and close them at night. Sun angles are low in winter, allowing substantial solar heating through all south windows.
Check and replace weather stripping. Air leaks around faulty weather stripping on doors and windows increase heating costs. Check for drafts and repair or replace worn stripping.
Reduce hot water use. Reducing hot water use is effective in reducing the cost of heating water. Take showers rather than baths since showering, in general, takes less water than baths. Modern detergents are formulated to work in cold water so wash in cold water.
Have you tried any of these tips in winters past? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Do you have any additional tips for reducing heating costs?