If the calendar didn’t show it, the freezing temperatures, biting winds and snowstorms would certainly give us a clue: Winter is here! While some of us may enjoy cold weather activities like skiing and ice skating, the rest of us are content to remain indoors, warm and cozy. Unfortunately, heating your home at this time of year can mean an expensive utility bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, accounting for about 45% of energy bills. The following are our tips to reduce your heating bill while maintaining comfortable temperatures in your home this winter:
Fill in Insulation Gaps
Gaps and cracks around your home let valuable heat leak out. Take some time to caulk or weatherstrip small openings in your baseboard, floorboards, around windows, and behind electrical outlets.
Plastic Wrap Windows
Your windows are a major source of heat loss during the winter. Keep the cold air out of your home by placing plastic wrap over your windows. There are inexpensive DIY installation kits at your local hardware store that allow you to secure the wrap with tape and then shrink/tighten with a hand-held hair dryer. Don’t forget to lock the windows before sealing them!
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Usually, we use our fans to cool us down, but they can also be used to warm us up. If you have ceiling fans in your home, set them to spin clockwise to redirect rising hot air down into the open areas of your home.
Adjust Your Thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating costs by simply turning your thermostat down 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
Only Heat the Rooms You Use Often
If there are rooms in your home you don’t use on a daily basis, such as a guest room or storage room, turn off the heaters and vents in these rooms. More heat and energy will be directed to the rooms that you and your family use regularly.
Cover Your Chimney
Your fireplace can be a great source of heat for your home. However, warm indoor air escapes through the chimney when it is not being used. To help prevent these drafts, try these two money-saving ideas: (1) Install a fireplace insert. A more efficient wood-burning heating system means less gas, oil, or electricity is required to heat your home. When the insert is not in use, the closed airtight glass doors will prevent heated inside air from escaping up through the chimney and also stops cold outdoor air from getting into the home. (2) Use a chimney balloon to block drafts. If you forget to take out the balloon before you start a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate and won’t cause the house to fill with smoke.
Use a Humidifier
The cold winter temperatures also bring dry air. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better. Use a humidifier in your home to help you feel warmer when your thermostat is set to a lower temperature. Some houseplants, such as the Areca Palm, can also increase the humidity in your home!
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Installing smart thermostats in your home can save money on energy costs. Most models employ functionality that adjusts the heating or cooling in each room of your home based on the temperature, in real time. You can also control your thermostat remotely using your smartphone or tablet from anywhere in your home. For more information on smart devices, read our Beginner’s Guide to Smart Home Tech.
At Eastern Insurance, we understand that protecting your home and managing your finances are as important as saving on your heating costs. Give us a call (800) 333-7234 or contact us on our website to learn how you can save on home insurance.