8 tips to ‘sock it’ to your heating bill this winter

Home heating bills can go through the ceiling in winter and this year they could be exceptionally high with predictions of lower than normal temperatures. Here are 8 tips for helping to lower your costs and 3 of them you may not have thought of:

 

Stay Warm with Socks

1. Leave the bathroom door open. When you take a hot shower, leave the bathroom door open so the steam (and heat) spreads to other rooms. Leave the fan off or you’ll suck all the warm air away.

2. Turn down the water heater temperature. Most likely it’s set at 160 degrees, but if you drop it to 140, you really won’t notice it very much. Every little bit helps.

3. Stop heat from escaping. Close off any rooms you don’t use very often and shut those heating vents. Keep your doors and windows shut and if you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is closed unless you are burning a fire. If you can install a metal fireplace insert, you may also be able to capture fireplace heat and re-direct it into the room rather than up the chimney and out of your home.

4. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are proven to save. Have your heating and cooling company (that would be Stramowski no doubt) install a programmable thermostat. You can significantly drop your energy usage when you’re away from the house and crank-it-up about a half hour before you arrive back home.

5. Perform maintenance on your heating system. If you keep your heating system properly maintained, it will help it run more efficiently. Electric and oil heaters should be professionally serviced once a year and gas heaters every other year. And don’t forget to change out your filters. Dirty filters lead to higher heating costs.

6. Look outside. The exterior of your heating unit should be checked. If you have a heat pump, don’t stack anything against it or drape anything over it. Hose the outside unit down to clear it of dirt, leaves and grass clippings. If your indoor unit appears to have excess water around it, see whether the condensate drain or pan are blocked.

7. Check for drafts. Light a candle and hold the flame near windows, doors and light fixtures and look for smoke moving sideways. If you see it, that means heat is escaping through cracks and leaks you may not be able to see.  Use weather-stripping or add some insulating material. That’s heat (and money) disappearing before your eyes.

8. Keep windows covered.  At night, cover your windows. This will help you lower heat loss and keep cold air out, especially if you have a house with old windows. During the day when it’s light out, uncover your windows and let the light in. Take advantage of the thermal heat coming in through the windows.