As winter approaches and cold temperatures arrive, so might an increase in your heating costs. One recent report notes that most consumers will see more than a ten percent rise in their heating bills this winter, which might leave you scrambling to readjust your household budget. However, there are a few strategies you can use to conserve energy and save money when the cold weather strikes.
- Examine Entranceways
You could be losing a great deal of heat around the sides and the underside of your entranceway doors. One of the most common causes of this loss of heat is due to the door not making proper contact with the threshold. Examine your doors carefully, especially at the bottom, and if you can see sunlight coming in through any gaps, this is probably where heat is escaping your home. Have a professional adjust your doors and replace the weatherstripping to improve your home’s heating efficiency.
If you own an older home and have never replaced your doors, this may be a good time to consider it. Energy-efficient doors can help lower your heating costs and give you peace of mind that you are not wasting expensive resources each time your furnace runs. Ask a local contractor what type of doors are best suited for your home’s energy needs and heating system.
- Check for Exterior Gaps
Exterior gaps in your home could be allowing cold winter air into your home, which means your heater must work harder to bring the interior temperature of your home to the proper temperature. Cable and pipe gaps might even be letting in cold air where you do not feel the drafts, such as under cupboards or in storage rooms. You can use flexible caulk or insulation spray foam to block these gaps. You might want to check the caulk after high winds or frigid winter evenings to ensure it is not chipping or peeling away.
- Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat has a variety of convenient features, including those that might help you save on your heating bill. These thermostats can be adjusted to automatically raise and lower the interior temperature of your home in the most efficient way possible. For example, when there is no one home during the day, you can program the thermostat to lower the temperature during that time and then for it to turn on just before you return so the house is warm when you arrive. This can help lower your heating costs over time.
- Have Your Ductwork Checked
Having your heating system inspected before the cold weather comes can help you identify potential problems before they cause costly damage. Having a heat pump checkup and your heat exchanger examined are both important parts of furnace maintenance, but it is also wise to have your HVAC professional check your ductwork as well. Ducts that do not fit together well or that show gaps could be letting heat escape and may shorten the life of your system. Have them checked and sealed as a part of your annual heating system maintenance.
- Use Curtains
You can take simple measures to prevent heat from escaping your home and to use the sun’s rays to your best advantage during the day. Even in cold weather, you can use sunlight to heat the interior of your home, especially during the late morning and afternoons. Open your curtains on sunny days and lower the thermostat, which means your heating system will run less often. Once the sun goes down, close your curtains tightly to keep out drafts.
Taking steps to lower your heating bill can prevent your household budget from spiraling out of control during the winter months. With a bit of preventative maintenance and care, you can heat your home affordably and with efficiency.