Are you looking to save more money this winter?  Whether you want more money to spend on Christmas, or you are trying to pay off debt, these tips to save on heating can help you save big bucks.  | how to save on utilities | prepare my house for winter | winter preparedness |

Are you looking to save more money this winter?  Whether you want more money to spend on Christmas, or you are trying to pay off debt, these ideas can help you save big bucks.  Scan through these 25 tips to save on heating and watch your utility bill decrease.  The good news is, a lot of these items will help you save on your summer utilities too.

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25 Tips to Save on Heating

If you feel like you’ve done these before, that’s great!  It’ll be quicker to do them a second time.  Each year, you’ll want to check things to be sure they are keeping that cold air out.

1. Use the sun for free heat. That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.

2. Keep your furnace clean and unblocked. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained will reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when it gets dirty.

3. Seal Leaks in Duct Work– take a look at the duct work that’s accessible in your basement or attic. Look for places where the ducts may have pulled apart at seams and corners. According to Energy Star, the typical house with forced-air heating loses about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Place a plastic sealant or metal tape over any leaks to seal them.

4. Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed and keeping your apartment cooler when you sleep.

5. Keep heating vents clear– The warm air blowing out of your registers needs a clear path into the room to provide even heating. So, if you place your favorite recliner or a sofa over the register, you’re limiting the flow of heat. It’s like leaving the vent partially or completely closed. To cut heating costs, arrange your room so that the register is as unobstructed as possible.

6. Bundle up with warm accessories. This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.

7. Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, you have more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.

8. Only use exhaust fans when necessary. Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of your apartment. Use exhaust fans sparingly, and shut them off when you are done with them.

9. Adjust Door Thresholds– If  you can see daylight under your front door, then you’re losing the indoor air you’ve paid to heat. “If the door is not in contact with the threshold, the air is going right under the door,” Rogers said. Some thresholds have four or five screws that let you adjust the height to eliminate a gap. Turn the screws counterclockwise to lift the threshold until daylight is mostly gone. A little light in the corners is okay, but don’t raise the threshold so high that it interferes with opening and closing the door. And the door shouldn’t drag on the threshold or it’ll wear out the weatherstripping.

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10. Cover windows with a plastic film– Rogers says that windows account for 25 percent of heat loss in homes. Covering the windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film can reduce that loss. “Just by using that plastic, you’re going to save about 14 percent on your heating bill,” he says.  The transparent film is inexpensive; you can find it for about $6 for 62 x 84 inches at home centers. The film is simple to put on and won’t harm your trim, and if you put it on correctly you’ll barely notice it. In the spring, the film comes off easily.

11. Keep warm air from escaping up the chimney– The downside to fireplaces is that when they’re not in use, your warm indoor air is escaping through chimney. Even when the chimney flue is closed, some warm air is probably still getting away. An easy solution is to block the airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon. The balloons are available on amazon and other retailers to fit various chimney sizes and cost about $50. “They can save you up to $100 a year, so they’re going to pay for themselves twice a year,” Rogers says. “They are definitely a good investment.”  Blow up the balloon and stick it in the chimney. If you forget to take it out before you start a fire, the balloon automatically deflates, so it won’t cause the house to fill with smoke. However, be advised that the balloons can become sooty and hard to manage after repeated uses.

12. Insulate Attic Access Door– Even in well-insulated attics, the access door may not be properly insulated, letting warm air escape through the attic hatch. And if the door is warped or something obstructs the opening, then the door won’t lie flat, allowing air to leak into the attic. “You don’t want any air going up the access,” Rogers says. “You want to make sure the door is insulated, and you want to make sure it forms a good seal.”  To ensure that the door blocks airflow, use adhesive to attach fiberglass batt insulation to the attic side of the door. And if the door won’t lie flat, use a latch bolt system to close it tight.

13. Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most. Energy bills run, on average, $183 per month. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.

14. Get a humidifier to add moisture to the air. The air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. You can also increase the humidity in your apartment with a collection of house plants.

15. Invest in insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold air in homes without proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape. Start with foam weather stripping for your doors and windows; it’s cheap and is extremely easy to apply.

16. Decorate with LED lights for the holidaysBuy new LED holiday lights, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. In addition to consuming less energy, LED lights don’t emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer alternative. Bonus tip: Always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. As with all appliances and electronics, your holiday lights will continue to draw power even when not in use, which adds unnecessary expense to utility bills.

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17. Replace Worn Weatherstripping– Worn and torn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts and lets in cold air. Seven to 12 percent of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors, according to Black Hills Energy, and these leaks often prompt homeowners to turn up their furnace to keep comfy. Even if they don’t turn it up, they’re losing warm air, causing the furnace to work harder. “Weatherstripping around doors, and caulking around doors and windows, can cut down on drafts,” says Jeff Rogers, president of the Energy Audit Institute, an energy audit training and certification company in Springfield, N.J.  Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years because of wear. Replacing it is typically as simple as pulling off the old and tacking on the new.

18. Eliminate Drafts around Electrical Boxes– Electrical boxes in your exterior walls are notoriously drafty because insulation isn’t always placed behind and around them correctly. “You want to try to stop air from flowing around the box and through the box,” Rogers says.  To stop the leaks, remove the cover plates and fill small gaps around the boxes with acrylic latex caulk. For large gaps, use foam sealant. Then place a foam gasket over the outlet or switch and replace the cover plate. The gaskets cost about $1.10 for a two-pack. “The gasket is going to save you money for as long as that outlet is in your house,” Rogers says. “That small investment pays off for as long as you own your home.”

19. Plug Holes in Exterior Walls- Pipes, gas lines, and electrical cables that enter your house often have gaps around them that have been haphazardly filled with some kind of caulk. But that caulk eventually cracks, peels, and falls off. These gaps let in outside air, plus they are ideal entry points for mice and insects.  Seal the gaps with expanding foam. For water pipes under the sink, unscrew and pull back the escutcheon ring, then caulk around the pipe. “The ring is just decorative,” Rogers says. “It’s not going to block airflow.”

20. Buy a portable heater– Put a space heater in the place where your family gathers, like the living room, and turn down the furnace temperature. The rest of the house will be cooler but you’ll be warm, and you can save 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree below 70 F that you turn down the furnace, according to utility company Pepco. You’ll see those savings all winter long.  Of course, you have to buy the heater and use electricity, which cuts into the overall savings. portable heater start at about $30, and an electric heater that uses 1500 watts will cost you 14 cents per hour, based on a rate of 8.14 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to Nebraska Public Power District. Still, the savings from reducing the furnace temperature should offset the cost of using the space heater and then some.

21. Upgrade your thermostat– The savings from programmable thermostats are well-documented. By automatically turning down the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, either when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping, these thermostats can cut your heating bill by 10 percent or more. Programmable thermostats are now cheaper than ever, with models starting under $25.

22. Lock doors and windows– Notice how when you lock your windows, you can often feel them pushing together more tightly? It make a difference for your heating bill. Even when doors and windows are closed, they might not be pressed tight against the weatherstripping if they’re not locked, which allows cold outside air to infiltrate the home. Lock your windows early, especially if you live up north. If they freeze in their current positions, then they won’t move and you won’t be able to lock them without a lot of work.

23. Decorate for warmth– place cute blankets on the couch, add flannel sheets to the bed, and put large warm comforters on the bed.

24.  Get an Energy Audit– many companies will come to your home to find where you can improve the efficiency.  Try calling your utility company, they may charge a small fee.

25.  Lower your Water Temperature– lower your energy cost by decreasing your water temperature.  It won’t take as long to heat up your water, but it will still feel warm since it’s so cold outside.

In conclusion

There are a TON of way’s you can save on heating.  You won’t notice a huge difference in a month, but of the next few months you’ll notice a difference when following these tips to save on heating.

What’s your tip to save on heating?  Comment below

Further Reading:

Prepare for Winter

FREE Indoor Family Fun Ideas

DIY Christmas Gifts

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References:

US News

Popular Mechanics

Energy.gov

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