The world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil was reported this week (on February 2nd) of seeing his shadow – predicting six more weeks of winter, BRRRR)!!! That could mean additional heating costs to combat “unpredictable cold fronts”. Many of you may have likely taken on projects in the Fall to save on your heating bill, but if you’re home is still feeling a bit draftier than it should, than you probably have experienced higher heating costs! Rest assured that there are still some things you can do right now to save on your heating bill, while still keeping warm. Let’s take a look…
Turn down your thermostat – Ok, so we start with the obvious. But did you know that for every degree you lower your heat in the 60 to 70 degree range, you’ll save up to 5 percent on heating costs?” according to consumerenergycenter.org. Furthermore, by setting the thermostat to as low as 55 degrees at night, will save you an additional 5 to 20 percent off your utility bill! That’s some serious change saved! Bundle up in your sweats and sweaters and you’ll be the one in your neighborhood saving on your heating bill for sure!
Use Those Curtains – Drapes on the windows will help to hold heat in the room. An easy way to save on your heating bill is to use heavier fabrics, such as velvet in the winter, and consider backing them with insulated fabric. Be aware that drapes, however, can also block the cheapest means of heating your home – the sun. So if sunshine is expected, throw open those curtains that rest on your south-facing windows before you leave for work in the morning and on the weekends. Keeping them closed at night, and on dreary days will help insulate the home from the cold (another great way to save on your heating bill!).
Curtains can also be used in doorways that divide rooms and will help keep the drafts in those rooms from entering others; while also creating an inviting, visual appeal. These types of curtains are known as portieres, common in homes during the Victorian era.
Draft Proof your Windows and Doors – Consider exterior shutters to keep the howling wind from seeping around the windows, and try your hand at creating DIY draft guards around your doors. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll save on your heating bill with this do it yourself trick!
Reverse your ceiling fan – By reversing the direction of spin on your ceiling fan will help pull cool air up, and help you save on your heating bill. Stand under the fan and watch the blades spin – they should rotate clockwise in the winter. To change the direction, use the remote control. If you have an older fan that lacks a remote, you should find a toggle-switch on the unit, just below the blades.
NOTE: If you have vaulted or cathedral ceilings, the fan is mounted too high for this technique to work.
Close the fireplace – Since traditional fireplaces suck warm air up the chimney and pump it out of the house, experts suggest that you not even use it during the winter. If you decide to take them up on that, purchase a piece of insulation and use it to block the chimney. If you still want to use the fireplace, close the vent (after all hot embers have died down) when it’s not in use.
Use a Humidifier – Central heating can be very drying. And this makes everything feel a little colder than it is. Moist air, on the other hand, holds the heat better and naturally feels warmer. Using a humidifier, even in just the room you spend the most time in, will allow you to set the thermostat a little lower.
BEWARE OF SOME MYTHS when trying to find ways to save on your heating bill. Let’s take a look at one of the biggest:
Close off the vents in unused rooms – We’ve all heard that we should close the heat vents in rooms that we don’t use and seal off the room from the rest of the home. “Nonsense!”, say HVAC experts. Modern forced air heating systems require a balanced pressure load throughout the house. Blocking one or more vents throws the load off balance, causing the system to work harder, eventually breaking down. The Family Handyman suggests that you speak to an HVAC professional before closing heat vents.
Remember, there are plenty of ways to save on your heating bill, and if you’re serious, you might want to take a look at your insulation and HVAC as soon as the weather permits so next winter you’ll be a heat savings natural and prepared to save on your heating bill.
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