One-Weekend Wonders! 6 Ways to Save Money on Your Winter Heating Bill


 

We’re all for steaming hot lattes, cable knit sweaters and long afternoons beside crackling fires. But the rising energy costs that accompany these chilly winter months? No thank you!

Luckily, there are some easy ways to save money when the mercury drops without sacrificing your creature comforts. Forget about bundling up in all your layers or huddling together for warmth. If you’re looking to cut your energy bill and put a little more cash back in your bank account, these tips are where you should start.

Here’s the kicker: You can knock most of ’em off your to-do list in one weekend. That means more time for you to perfect your pour-over technique and more money for your holiday vacation. Excellent.

Keep reading for our six best pieces of advice (plus even more bonus tips!) on reducing your winter heating bill.

 

Turn down your thermostat when you’re asleep.

It doesn’t matter how roasty-toasty you want your home to be while you’re cooking dinner or curled up on the couch. You can save 10 percent on your energy bill annually if you turn down your thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for just eight hours a day. You can easily drop it when you’re at work or running errands, or while you’re sleeping under a huge pile of blankets.

Psst! Did you know you sleep better in a cool room? It’s true!

Bonus tip! Worried about coming home to a cold house? Try installing a smart home thermostat that you can adjust from your smartphone. While many older programmable thermostats can store a few different daily settings at once, a smart thermostat is more flexible. Set it so that the temperature increases when you begin your evening commute, and it’ll be comfortable by the time you walk through the door.

Install fireplace doors.

One of the biggest money vacuums during the winter months is your chimney. Even when your damper is shut, warm air you’re paying to heat can escape and cool air can slip inside.

Tempered glass fireplace doors prevent this from happening because when they’re closed, they create a tight seal against your fireplace. This keeps the cold air out and the warm air in, exactly where it belongs.

Bonus tip! For more fireplace energy savings, consider converting a wood-burning fireplace into a gas fireplace. Gas burns more cleanly than wood, making it better for the environment, and it’s less expensive, less time-consuming and safer than burning wood.

Use your ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans don’t make the air in a room hot or cold. While fans move air around, they don’t change the temperature of the air itself. However, the direction in which the fan blades rotate does affect the way the air feels.

Typically, ceiling fan blades that rotate clockwise make the air feel warmer while a counterclockwise rotation makes the air feel cooler. The direction of the fan blades is usually controlled by a switch near the motor. Check your model’s user manual for details.

Bonus tip! Since ceiling fans don’t affect real air temperature, there’s no reason to keep them on when a room is empty. Be diligent about turning them off in unoccupied areas. Or, consider installing smart home technology and smart switches that can put your fans on a timer. That way, they’ll turn on when you’re typically in a room and off when you tend to leave it, like when you go to sleep or to work.

 

Prevent drafts from slipping through cracks.

Have you ever walked barefoot through your house and noticed that your feet get chillier when you pass exterior doors? If you have, that means the bottom of the door isn’t forming a strong seal with the doorway. This can happen around windows, too, especially in older homes.

You can fix these drafty doors and windows by replacing the weatherstripping that surrounds them. This is an easy DIY project you can accomplish in an afternoon.

Bonus tip! Still not satisfied (or not interested in messing around with weatherstripping)? You can purchase a door snake, which is a stuffed, weighted fabric roll that sits up against the door. For a quick, temporary fix, try rolling up a towel or small blanket and nestling it into the crack, instead.

Double-check your air vents.

Closing vents to keep energy costs down is a myth. Your HVAC system was designed to function optimally when all its vents are open. When they’re closed, you put additional stress on the system. Making it work harder means that you’re burning money.

To fix this problem, go from room to room in your house to take an inventory of all your vents. Then, grab a ladder and fully open the vents that are closed.

Bonus tip! Keeping your entire HVAC system clean improves efficiency and increases the lifespan of the equipment. Be sure to change your filters regularly and clean dust out of vents.

 

Upgrade your insulation.

If you’re thinking about redecorating, do it with energy savings in mind. Drapes covering your windows create a barrier between warm rooms and cold glass. This prevents energy leeching and can also stave off drafts.

The same is true for rugs on floors, especially if you have hardwood or tile. Mixing and matching hallway runners and area rugs creates a comfy, bohemian vibe in any house. This is a great must-do for rooms over uninsulated spaces, like garages and basements.

Bonus tip! Wear socks or slippers around the house. When your extremities, like your face, fingers and feet, are cold, they make the rest of you cold, too, even if your home is warm. Covering up your tootsies is an easy way to trick your body into feeling warm and cozy.

There you have it! A slew of simple ways to make your home more energy efficient and increase your energy savings this winter and all year round. Stay cozy and save some cash. Thanks to these pro tips, you won’t have to give up a thing this winter.

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