Almost everyone, both homeowners and renters, can use tips for lowering heating bills in the winter months. The additional expense during cold months can really place a burden on some, so here are some ideas for making that load lighter.
Add a programmable thermostat. By setting a schedule so that your heating system cuts back or to warms up at the appropriate times, you will reduce the wasted energy of keeping it running at a higher level than necessary. It will also make your family more comfortable and help them to sleep better.
Check for leaks and seal them to prevent cold air from seeping inside. If you have a number of small leaks under doors or through electrical outlets, they can add up to a lot of lost energy. On the next cold day, just put your hand near each outlet or switch located on an outside wall and see whether you can feel the cold air blowing in. If so, take off the cover plate (usually with one screw) and add a foam gasket between the cover and the box. If it is leaking under a door, you might be able to adjust the threshold higher, or you might want to add a door sweep on the inside. If you have leaking or cold windows transferring heat, consider putting shrink wrap over them. For about $10 per window, that will make a big difference in comfort for you.
Make sure you have a clean furnace filter. This should be checked monthly, and replaced whenever it is dirty. If you haven’t had an recent checkup and adjustment, or if you hear any odd noises coming from the system, call for a professional HVAC service appointment. Keeping the system tuned and lubricated makes a lot of difference.
Use the sun to heat for free. Even on cold days we have sun, and when we do, open your curtains and let it stream in for several hours, then close them as the sunlight gets lower. The more heat gain you get that way, the less your heating system will have to run.
Get a free home energy audit. Utility companies provide free audits to customers, and they give you free energy saving items when they visit. They are also likely to take you to places in your home with energy loss that you haven’t discovered yet. Often they will leave you free LED or CFL light bulbs, foam gaskets for outlets, shower flow restrictors, and other small items. Take advantage of these visits. They are easy to schedule and the things they recommend will add up to savings for you. As an example, here is a link to the Home Energy Assessment Program at IPL but other utility companies have similar programs.
One of the best ways for lowering heating bills is to scheduled, periodic maintenance. Sign up for an annual maintenance plan and we’ll check it twice a year, keeping it in top shape and preventing wasted energy.
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