How to Prep your Home for Winter to Save on your Heating Bill
As the days begin to get shorter and colder, it's time to heat things up! Although you may be tempted to just crank your thermostat to full blast, there are smarter and less expensive ways to keep warm this winter. Here are a few tips to help keep nice and cozy while saving on your heating bill.
Inspecting and sealing your doors is a good first step to reducing your heating costs. Two major things to look for are weatherstripping and thresholds.
Weatherstripping: Over time the weatherstripping around your doors gets worn down and needs to be replaced. By sealing the gaps around your doors, you'll instantly feel warmer. Here is a great article to show you how easy it is to replace weatherstripping yourself and what materials you'll need.
Thresholds: If you can see any light creeping from under your door it might be time to adjust the threshold. By turning the adjustable screws you can stop the heat from escaping and “screwing” with your heating bill.
After you've sealed your doors, it's time to check the windows as these are one of the most common areas where heat is lost.
Properly Closed: When you close a window and lock it you can feel an extra pop of pressure. It's not enough to just shut it as there is still a possibility of warm air escaping. By latching it shut, it creates a tighter seal.
Plastic Wrapped: Have you ever been at a friend's home and noticed what looks like saran wrap around their windows? Well, this is actually meant to seal out the cold and keep your heat in. The clear film is inexpensive, will reduce your heating bill and it's super easy to install and take off in the spring. It can also be placed on doors you don't use during the winter and if done correctly, it shouldn't cause any harm to the frames.
Frames: Thoroughly inspect your window frames to see if any damage has occurred, especially if you have wooden frames. They can start to rot and decay which is the last thing you want during the winter. Also, take a look for any broken glass, cracks or gaps in your windows.
As part of the foundation of your home, your walls can also be the cause of pesky drafts and exposure.
Seal Holes: Sealing holes around your home can eliminate cold drafts coming through exposed areas. Most common places to check are where cables and pipes enter your home. Be sure to check both inside and outside to ensure you're not letting any precious heat out.
Electrical Boxes: You might be surprised that your electrical box is usually improperly insulated. You can easily tell if yours is by lifting off the cover and looking for small gaps. If there are or you can feel cool air coming through, use a sealant or caulking to fill them.
You've heard it before that 2 + 2 = 4 but so does 3 + 1, which proves there's more than one way to achieve the same result. This also applies when it comes to other ways to heat your home that doesn't include increasing your gas usage.
Fireplace: Fireplaces, whether gas or wood-burning, can be an excellent alternative to heating specific rooms in your home. Take the time to tune-up your fireplace by getting a professional to come and inspect, make preventive suggestions and inform you of any repairs or parts required which should prolong the life of your fireplace.
Portable Heater: Space heaters are an excellent way to reduce your heating bill. By putting portable heaters in popular areas of your home like the basement or living room, you can turn down the thermostat and still enjoy being cozy on the couch. Be careful of overuse as this can increase your electricity bill.
Tip: Do NOT use your oven or stove as an additional heater. This is extremely dangerous and can still end up costing you more on your electricity bill.
Clean and Clear
Not just for beautiful skin, these tips will help your furnace stay beautiful.
Vents: Provide a clear path for vents to do their job. If you have furniture covering them or something obstructing the airflow you are losing valuable heat. It might be time to rearrange or get your feng shui on.
Filters: Dirty filters cause your system to work harder and longer due to the restricted airflow. By changing or cleaning filters on a regular basis, you will save money and create a cleaner environment.
Ducts: Get your air ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years so your furnace doesn't have to work so hard to heat your home.
Although some of you probably use your attic for storage space it can also be one of the coldest rooms in your home, adding insulation will drastically help your heating bill. It'll also keep your home's temperature more consistent.
Technology has helped improve many aspects of our daily routines and smart home technology products are another way to save more money.
Thermostat: By investing in a programmable thermostat, you can direct it to decrease its temperature when you are not home and can even program it to turn up the temperature while you're driving home after a long day of work so you can feel warm and welcomed.
Tip: Don't completely turn off your heat. It's a common myth that turning off your heat will save you money but in many cases, it can cost more as your furnace will need to work extra hard to reheat your home than it would to maintain a temperature.
It's free...enough said.
Sunlight: Let the sunshine illuminate your home and create natural heat. It may be cold outside but by opening your curtains every morning you can soak up some of those powerful rays throughout the day.
Bundle up: We're not necessarily saying you need to sleep in your snowsuit but by wearing socks, sweaters, and slippers you can turn down the temperature a few degrees and still comfortably walk around your home.
Finally, it's a good idea to get your home, furnace, and heaters inspected by a professional. In some cities, utility companies will provide a free once-a-year home audit to give you tips on where you can save money and be more energy efficient.
Do you have any other heat saving ideas we may have missed? Let us know in the comments below.