Whether you want to be more environmentally conscious or simply save money on your heating bills, reducing energy consumption is your best bet. There are many ways to be more conservative with little to no investment required, and making a few simple changes could mean big savings. Below are the best ways to cut back on energy usage and slash your next heating bill:
Update Your Insulation:
Adding insulation is generally the most cost-effective choices a homeowner can make when it comes to cutting down on energy bills. In homes with an attic, a few rolls of insulation could mean 20 to 30% off of the monthly bill. In many cases, hiring a professional can help pin down any problem areas, leaky ducts, or cracks that could allow heat to escape.
Adjust Your Thermostat:
One free method of reducing a heating bill is to turn the thermostat down whenever you are at work, sleeping, or away from the home for a significant length of time. Many people don't even consider it, but turning the thermostat down just 10 degrees when no one is around can lead to major savings. If you have trouble remembering to do it, consider buying a "smart" thermostat, which can quickly pay for itself in savings when properly programmed.
Use the Sun to Your Advantage:
Opening any south-facing windows during daylight hours allows the sun to warm up your home free of charge. When night falls, simply close the curtains to keep the heat trapped inside. This is especially effective if you have double-paned windows in your home, which are much more effective at retaining heat during the winter months.
Rethink Your Water Heater:
There are several changes that you can make to your water heater in order to save money. First and foremost, consider turning the temperature down to 120 degrees, which allows for plenty of hot water without wasting energy on over-heating. This simple adjustment can save up to 10% on your heating bill. For older heaters, an inexpensive insulator jacket can further increase efficiency. For a more expensive, long-term solution, consider an on-demand tankless heater, which can slash your heating bill by more than 30%.
In many cases, it is likely more cost-effective to simply bundle up in warm clothing instead of turning up the heat. Keep warm blankets near the couch and lay rugs over wood or linoleum floors. Taking a few seconds to throw on a toasty sweater could mean money in your pocket at the end of the month.
Seal Any Cracks:
The fact of the matter is that most houses leak more than a homeowner might expect. However, with a small up-front investment and a few hours of work, anyone can seal up their home and dramatically improve heat retention. Reapplying caulk around windows, installing door sweeps, clearing heating vents, and wrapping up water pipes can all keep a home from leaking heat, which translates into additional savings.
Use Fans Wisely:
Though it may sound strange, ceiling fans can actually help reduce heating costs. Because heat rises, the air will be warmer the closer it is to the ceiling. A fan set on low can help push the warmer air down without cooling it, letting you shave a few degrees off of the thermostat. On the other hand, avoid using exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom, since they pull warm air up and out instead.
By applying the tips above, any homeowner can reduce the pinch in their pocketbooks when the monthly heating bill arrives. Many of the best ways to cut down on energy consumption are simple and inexpensive, while more expensive options can easily pay for themselves in the long run, cutting down on environmental harm in the process.