Household Money Saving Tips: How To Cut Heating Costs This Winter

An easy technique to save money is to cut heating costs during the winter. Here are some expert ideas and tips to help you manage your household budget.

One of the easiest ways to limit heating costs is to set your thermostat a few degrees lower. Doing so can save you an estimated two to three percent per degree over the season. Bundle up a little more at home and fix the temperature somewhere between 68 and 70 degrees. However, do not turn off the heat altogether while you are away. Doing so will allow your home's temperature to drop near that of the outdoors and will take more energy to reheat. Instead, cut back the thermostat about ten degrees while you are at work, returning it to normal once you get home. If you shudder at the thought of being welcomed home from work by a frigid house, invest in a programmable thermostat, which can be set to run at different temperatures at different times of the day.

Another quick and inexpensive way to conserve heat is to insulate properly. Although anyone would laugh at the idea of leaving a window open in December, few realize that incorrectly sealed doors and windows are just as bad for conserving heat. Place weather stripping at the base of drafty entryways, even if the gap is barely visible. Seal windows with caulk to keep out chilly air and hold in warmth. These jobs should be done before the temperature drops too low, since weather barriers adhere poorly in cold weather. If you are willing to make a larger investment, replace old windows with double-paned models, which will drastically improve your home's temperature efficiency throughout the year. Many newer panes are treated with UV ray resistant coatings, which keep summer heat from seeping in.

Look through your home to determine whether the walls have enough insulation. If not, a professional can install foam insulation in about a day through electrical outlets. There is no draft to indicate under-insulated walls, but they often feel cold to the touch because there is only a thin layer of drywall separating them from outside. Light switch and wall outlet covers can also be insulated with high-density foam gaskets to almost completely block out drafts from the exterior walls of the home. Having thick insulation installed in the rafters of your attic ceiling can prevent the escape of rising heat from lower levels. Check to see that the insulation in between each level of the house is thick enough (approximately ten inches). A professional heating specialist can diagnose any problems of which you are unaware. They can also detect places where large amounts of warmth are escaping your house.

The attic and basement unnecessarily consume a large majority of a house's heat. Unfinished rooms should not receive heat through vents. Cover them or turn off the room's thermostat so that you do not waste energy warming rooms that do not house people. The same goes for spare rooms or other areas of the home that are not used on a regular basis. A properly functioning furnace will heat these areas within a few minutes if they are needed, so there is no point in wasting energy and money "just in case" someone drops by. If your hot water heater is in an unfinished basement, cover it with an insulated jacket, which most hardware stores supply. In a cold room, the thin layer of padding built into the unit will not be able to effectively keep out the exterior cold, so it will have to run more often.

Take every possible step to conserve heat in the main level of your home. Remove window air conditioner units at the first sign of cool weather. Do not turn on house fans and vents unless necessary, both of which can suck all the heated air out of your home in as little as an hour. Check every heating vent to make sure it can blow freely. You can limit the stress put on your water heater by limiting showers to ten minutes and only using cold water to wash laundry. Heat and cold can pass through glass as well as around its edges, so choose thick window treatments. When sun shines through windows, leave them open to receive its warmth. For the rest of the day, keep them shut as much as possible.

Finally, make sure that your furnace is performing at its peak by having it inspected annually. Not only will a professional be able to make necessary repairs, but he will also know if the unit you own is right for your home. It is believed that the majority of people are spending unnecessary amounts of money because their furnaces are too big for their homes. Ask a specialist to install a more appropriate model if this is the case. It is also possible that you have an older furnace not designed for optimum efficiency. In recent years, manufacturers have made furnaces that are up to 90% energy efficient, which will save you thousands of dollars over the machine's life. By choosing the ideal furnace for your home, you will limit the amount of fuel burned.

With adequate preparation, homeowners do not need to fear ridiculous heating costs this winter. They can rest assured that they are only spending what is necessary instead of wasting their hard-earned money. It may be inconvenient to wear a sweater at home or costly to replace an outdated furnace, but both are better than unbearably high heating bills. In years to come, as fuel prices return to more reasonable rates, the investments people make to conserve heat will pay off even more.

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