As much as we hate to admit it, winter is right around the corner. In addition to dealing with snow filled roads, waking up early to scrape the ice off of the windshield, and having your sidewalk turned into a ice skating rink, winter also brings with it higher heating bills. Thankfully, there are a few steps that homeowners can take in order to reduce the impact that the winter cold has on their heating bills. Here are 7 ways to save money on heating this winter:
- Do an Energy Audit
First and foremost, make sure that your home is energy efficient. If your heating bill is going through the roof, it may be advisable to get a home energy audit. During an energy audit, a trained professional will walk through your home with an infrared camera. They will look to identify zones in the home that experience heat loss. Later, you will have the option of insulating those areas to minimize heating loss. The audit itself may cost upwards of $500. However, a year or two of energy savings will more than pay for the audit. In some cases, utility companies will reimburse homeowners for the cost of the audit.
**Note: Some utility companies allow you to do an online energy audit for free. Check with your company. In Kansas City, KCPL offers a free online energy analyzer that shows exactly what consumes the most energy in your home, or apartment. **
- Seal up the Gaps
While they may not seem like a big deal, even the smallest of gaps around a door or window can drastically increase winter energy consumption. Just think about it like this, if every single one of your windows and every single one of your doors had a 1/8 of an inch crack in it, for the average home this would be the equivalent of having a 6 inch square-shaped hole right smack in the middle of one of your exterior walls.
- Prevent Heat from Slipping out the Window
Windows are one of the primary ways that heat escapes the home during the winter. For those who can afford it, installing Energy Star rated windows is the best way to minimize heat loss. But in all fairness, the $300+ price tag per window is a lot more than the majority of us can afford. A more affordable option is to install indoor window film, which is designed to adhere to the border of the window. It can be installed by a homeowner using little more than a blow dryer and a stepladder. Here is more info on what makes a window Energy Star approved.
- How Smart Is Your Thermostat?
Purchasing a smart thermostat is a great way to control energy usage. Set the thermostat at 70° on average throughout the winter. Program it to drop the temperature of the home down to 62° when you are away or sleeping. This step alone can save you almost $100 on your annual heating bill. I recommend checking out the Nest Thermostat, it’s pretty awesome!
- It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity
Many homeowners are unaware of the relation that exists between the level of humidity in the air and air temperature. The more humidity there is in the air, the hotter the air feels to the human body. An inexpensive way to reduce energy usage during the winter is to purchase a humidifier. A two gallon humidifier that will cost around $40 is all that is needed to keep the average size living room feeling warmer. And just think about this, every single degree you lower the thermostat equates to $10 that you will save on your heating bill.
- Keep Heat from Sneaking Out of the Roof – Insulate the Attic!
A great way for homeowners to save hundreds of dollars on their home heating cost is simply to insulate the attic. The roof is the number culprit for heating loss. This means that it is worth it to take some time to check the level of insulation in the attic. Make sure it covers the entire floor. As a rule of thumb, it should be around 7 inches deep. This simple step could save you hundreds every year. Here is more information about the different types of insulation available for your home.
- The Benefits of Rugs and Carpet
Investing in carpet or rugs is a way to improve the appearance of the home while at the same time reducing winter energy consumption. Carpet and rugs serve as a layer of insulation between the cold floor and your feet. This means that it will be an effective way to prevent your body temperature from lowering, thereby preventing you from raising the temperature on your thermostat.
For more heating and cooling tips check out Modernize!
This Guest Post was written by Jane Blanchard. Jane is a blogger, home design geek, and graphic designer from Savannah, Georgia currently living in Austin, Texas.
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