When winter arrives, it means that your heating bill rises. That’s how it is here in Chicagoland, but there are still ways to save money on heating bills so that your pocket doesn’t need to take such a big hit.
As the temperatures start to drop, take a tour of the home and inspect the areas in this post. A few simple and affordable updates can keep the house warm and cozy while saving you money.
Here are some ways to stay warm and reducing the heating bill:
Worn and torn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts and lets in cold air. At least 10% of all heat loss in the home escapes from the borders around the windows and doors. That heat loss makes you turn up the heat higher and has your furnace running more frequently.
Your weather stripping usually needs to be replaced every few years. You don’t need to hire a professional to do it either. It’s as simple as removing the old strip and adding a new self-adhesive strip.
Door Thresholds – If you can see the daylight coming through under your front door, it means that you are losing indoor heat. The door should be in contact with the threshold or else the warm air is going right under it. This can sometimes be a very simple fix.
Some thresholds are adjustable by turning the screws clockwise. Just get a screwdriver and turn the screws until you see that the light is gone. Just make sure that the door doesn’t rub with the threshold or it will wear out your weather-stripping.
Portable Heater – Here’s a trick that a lot of people don’t know Place a space heater in your family room or living room where the family spends the most time and then turn down your furnace temperature. The rest of the house will be cooler but the room where everyone spends most of their time will be warm.
This is great for people who don’t mind if their bedroom is a little cooler and like being under a lot of warm blankets. You can save 3 percent on your heating costs every month for every degree below 70 F that you turn down the furnace.
Cover windows and patio doors with plastic film – Covering the windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film you can buy at the hardware store to reduce heat loss.
It’s simple to put on, inexpensive, won’t harm your trim, and if you placed correctly it is barely noticeable. In the spring, the film peels off easily.
Related Post: Air Conditioning and heating system
Seal air leaks in ductwork – Take a look at the ductwork 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 mastic sealant or metal tape over any leaks to seal them.
Lock Door and Windows – Notice how when you lock your windows, you can often feel them pushing together more tightly? It makes a difference for your heating bill. Even when doors and windows are closed, they might not be pressed tight against the weather-stripping 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.
Sun Rays – Despite the freezing temperature outside, the sun’s rays still bring some heat into your home. They’re free, so take advantage of them—the added heat will reduce how much your furnace needs to run.
Keep your curtains open during the day, especially on the south side of the house where you get more direct sunlight. Trim any tree branches or shrubs that block the sunlight around your windows to maximize the gains. Close the curtains at night so they act as barriers to reduce drafts.