How to Slash your Heating Bills this Winter
Winter heating bills can quickly rack up and you can find yourself struggling to keep up with the payments. But there are things you can do that can help you slash those bills and cut off a good portion of your bill.
Check Weather Stripping
Old weatherstripping can let cold air and drafts in making rooms cold and allowing hot air to escape. You can lose as much as 12% of your home’s heat right out your doors and windows. The answer – check all weather stripping and replace any that is worn and make sure the caulking around the windows is airtight.
Seal Off Drafts
Most people don’t even think to look at electrical boxes when it comes to weather proofing their home but they should. They can be a serious source of cold air and draft. Many electrical outlets aren’t properly insulated. To solve this problem check behind the plate and then fill in spaces with acrylic latex caulk. Next put a foam gasket over that and put the cover back on. Do this with all outlets and switches.
Other areas that can cause the same problem are where electrical cables, gas lines and pipes come into the house. Use expanding foam to seal any gaps that you can see in these areas. Water pipes are easy. Caulk around the pipes after you unscrew the escutcheon ring and pull it back.
Try Area Heaters
You can turn down the heat and use area heaters. This can be helpful in large rooms. Many modern area heaters are quite efficient and can save you money even though you use electricity to run them.
Plastic on the Windows
25% of heat can go right out your windows, literally. But this old standby has been around for years and really works. Cover them with plastic. You can do it the old fashion way with plastic and tape or you can buy kits that you use a hairdryer to blow air between the plastic and glass adding an extra buffer. Locking windows helps keep them sealed as well.
Chimneys, Air Ducts & Attics
These are all areas air can escape. When not using your chimney order a chimney balloon to keep warm from going .. well.. out the chimney. Attic doors openings should insulated well. According to Energy Star, the typical house with forced-air heating loses about 20 % to 30 % of the air moving through goes out leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. So double check and seal those with metal tape.
Furnaces & Thermostats
One of the best things you can do is have your furnace or heating seating tuned and checked every year. Yes it costs but it is worth it in the long run because a properly working system is more efficient. Make sure your thermostat is up-to-date and working properly as well. Set it to drop down during times you are not going to be home for long hours and at night when you are sleeping.
Keep curtains open during the day to let in warmth and light from the sun. Close them at night to keep out cool air.
Clear the Way
This may seem like a simple thing but keep your vent areas clear and don’t block them with furniture. The air can’t flow if the vent is blocked. Also, use ceiling fans to push warm air down and keep it circulating.