Even though winter is well underway, it is never too late to make lifestyle changes that will reduce the costs of your heating bill. There are many changes that homeowners can do in order to lower their energy use and reduce the impact it has on the environment at the same time. While some actions are more effective than others, the combination of them will ensure that you see positive changes in your monthly energy bill. We recommend making a list of all the materials you will require in addition to drafting up a work schedule for the actual performance of these tasks, as this is a change that should be done correctly from the get-go.
Some of these tasks may amount to an all-day project, depending on the size of your home and the breadth of the work involved. While it may seem pointless and time consuming, there really is no easier way to save money. To protect your investment while giving yourself some breathing room, here are some great ways to save on your heating bills this winter.
Ways To Save On Your Energy Bills
- Using a Programmable Thermostat. The use of programmable thermostats can save you hundreds on your energy bill all year! We recommend programming your heater to turn on right before you wake up in the morning, cool down when you leave for work, warm up once you return home from work, and then go down again before going to bed for the night. This will ensure your heater is running only when it needs to be, amounting to large savings on your energy bill on an annual basis.
- Do Not Neglect Your Windows. It is estimated that 10-25% of your home’s heat loss is attributed to windows. To lower this percentage, open curtains and shades on your home’s south facing windows during the day time to allow the sun’s heat to penetrate into your home and warm it. At night, keep curtains and blinds shut when the sun is not shining on them to keep the heat inside and insulate your home.
- Another tip to keep warm air from escaping through your windows is to install plastic window treatments. The installation of these treatments will help reduce the amount of heat loss and is a great option to consider if you have single pane windows.
- Change Air Filters. When your air filters are clean, air can flow better better throughout your heating system, which allows warm air to more easily flow through your vents and into your rooms. This will also reduce the strain on your furnace, extending its life at the same time. We recommend changing your air filter on a monthly basis, or to keep an eye on it and change it when it’s dirty. Not only will you see cut costs on your heating bills, you will also have the added benefit of cleaner, healthier air.
- Seal Any Leaks. If you are not actively maintaining the leakages in your home, warm air will flow out and cold air will seep in instead. To detect leaks, wait until it is cold outside– you will most likely need a 30 degree difference in the temperature indoor and outdoor to be able to detect any leakages. Once it is cold enough, we recommend checking the area around doors, windows, near the attic, around electrical outlets, and where cables and wires enter your home as these are common areas to find leaks. If you do find an empty gap, make sure to seal the area around vents, pipes, wires, or any other opening with caulk or weather stripping.Make sure you take the time to fill every nook and cranny, as you do not want to leave any spaces behind. An inexpensive way to insulate your windows is to install bubble wrap on them. They apply easy and come off without leaving any residue behind and is a great alternative to shrink wrap and other types of window covers.
- Add insulation. One of the best ways that you can keep your heating costs as low as possible is to insulate your home. The installation of insulation to your home will help keep the hot air in and the cold air out. Basement insulation is frequently overlooked and will help keep your home warmer during cold Canadian winters. When insulating, you want to ensure that you are not only installing the right amount, but installing it in the right way. Improper technique can lead to gaps and open areas where heat can continue to escape. Make sure that your attic is one of the first areas you look at, as this is a major problem area for many homes.
- Seal Any Heating Ducts. Many ducts have small leaks that can allow heated air to slowly escape. To prevent this from happening, grab a roll of metallic tape and seal the area. This can be purchased at almost any home improvement store, and you want to ensure you use metallic tape over duct tape, as the latter can degrade over time. You can also use an aerosol or liquid based sealant, which can work better than tape but is often messier.
- Use Space Heaters. When using a programmable thermostat that turns down the heat at bedtime, bedrooms can get quite cold. This is when space heaters are useful as you will only need to heat up the space you need. Use space heaters with caution and keep them away from walls and other flammable objects.
- Use Humidifiers. Humidifiers can be a great way to reduce your heating bills, especially in the winter, because moist air retains heat better than dry air does. The use of a humidifier will also help with dry skin, make it easier to breathe, and reduce static electricity in the home.
Although the implementation of all these tips will not reduce your heating bill to zero, the combination of these tips will definitely help with cutting your heating costs this winter. Many are fairly inexpensive, easy to do, and are bound to give you many benefits in return. Not only will they help you save money in the long run, they will also reduce the amount of energy you consume and in turn, benefit the environment.