It’s official: winter is here. With the cold comes the need for a heating system that works efficiently, providing you and your family with warmth throughout the chilly months. For homeowners though, the costs of heating your home can be expensive. To reduce your utility bills this year, here are some tips for cutting energy costs in the winter:
Perform Regular Maintenance
If you haven’t recently performed maintenance on the heating systems in your home, don’t procrastinate any longer – regular maintenance is crucial to ensuring that your heating systems are working properly and as efficiently as possible. Some must-do maintenance includes replacing your furnace’s filter once per month, and cleaning out the flue vent regularly if you have a wood or pellet-burning heater. The better maintained your systems are, the more efficiently they’ll operate, and the more money you’ll save. If your furnace is showing signs of decline, it may be time to replace it.
Purchase a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can be the key to saving big bucks, especially when it’s cold out. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a homeowner can save five to 15 percent per year on their heating bill all by purchasing a programmable thermostat, and setting it at 68 degrees while at home. When you’re away from home or sleeping, make sure the thermostat is programmed to turn the heat down. Programmable thermostats are also great for the summer months too, and can save dozens of dollars when the San Antonio sun is beating down and heating things up. In addition to changing the temperature on your thermostat, lower the temperature on your water heater, too. By turning down the temperature to 120 degrees, you’ll save energy and money – and don’t worry, you won’t notice a difference while showering!
Utilize Sunlight and Cover Drafty Windows
The sun is the absolute best source of heat, and harnessing its energy can be a great way to save on heating costs during the winter. Open curtains and blinds, and allow sunlight to warm the inside of your home. In addition to making sure your home takes advantage of as much sunlight as possible, it’s also important that you cover drafty windows and seal any window or door leaks. You can use plastic sheets to cover drafty windows, just make sure they’re clear in color so that sunlight can still enter. For sealing air leaks, use caulk or weatherstripping.
An article in the Money section of U.S. News recommends bundling up for saving on energy costs. While it may seem obvious, putting on an extra sweater and wearing wool socks can help your body to retain heat, which means that you’ll have less of a need for a high temperature setting on the thermostat. Throw an extra blanket on the bed, and use area rugs to insulate your floors. And don’t forget that you only need to heat the rooms that you use – if you have a large home with unused areas, such as a guest bedroom or dining room, close the vents in these rooms. Doing so will redirect the heat to other, more essential, parts of the house.
If you’re a homeowner, reducing energy use isn’t just good for your pocketbook; it’s great for the earth, too. By bundling up, letting in sunlight, sealing drafty areas, using a programmable thermostat, and performing regular maintenance on your heating systems, you can become more energy-efficient – and save more money – than ever before.