20 Jan Cost Effective Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bills
The following tips will help save you on those heating bills without giving your home a major overhaul:
- Weatherize – First, test your home for airtightness. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends lighting an incense stick on a windy day and holding it next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures and other places where there is a possible air corridor to the outside. If the smoke travels horizontally, you have located an air leak. Seal up these openings, weather-strip exterior doors and insulate attic floors. And, when the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed tightly.
- Insulate – Don’t just insulate your attic. The Department of Energy calculates that 10 to 25 percent of a heating bill goes out the window, literally.
- Improve and maintain your mechanical systems – Make sure your gas or oil furnace is serviced and cleaned at least once a year and change or clean furnace filters often during the winter season. Also, keep warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators clean, as needed.
And, replace your thermostat with a programmable one that allows you to set temperatures at different times of the day. Turning the heat down from 72 to 65 degrees for at least eight hours a day can reduce heating bills by 10 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Watch Your Windows – For the rare sunny day, open your shades to help heat the house with the sun, but be sure to close them at night. Also, keep the windows on the south side of your house clean to ensure maximum solar gain.
- Landscape – Let Mother Nature work for you. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your home. Plant deciduous trees on the south and east sides of your home. Stop chilling winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides.