Everyone loves to be warm in winter, with the crisp air outside providing a tingling contrast. However, no one likes the increase in the utility bill that comes with battling the outside elements.
Here are nine tips to keep your bill low and you warm
- Upgrade to a programmable thermostat. Not all programmable thermostats are made equal, and while you may be able to schedule certain times of heating and cooling with the thermostat you have now, some “smart” thermostats learn by an algorithm or detect when you’re home via GPS.
Of course, you don’t need to have one of these—a well-programmed thermostat can save you up to twelve percent on your heating bills when done manually as well as with a smart tech assist! In addition, you can compare cheap electricity service providers to make sure that you’re getting the best rate.
- Lock your doors and windows. While generally a good idea all year round, locking your doors and windows when not in use makes them better insulated. This is because when the lock is engaged, the door or window will seal closed just a bit more than at rest, pressing it more firmly into the weather stripping and keeping drafts out.
- Use plastic film insulation over your windows. Plastic kits are cheap and decrease the draft that comes through windows significantly. These are easy to find, cheap, easy to install, and remove cleanly without damaging trim. Windows that are on the older side can also benefit from the decrease in condensation that comes with using these as well, and anyone with aluminum frame windows knows how much of a pain that can be.
- Run your humidifier. Winter air tends to be dry, and the effects go beyond the dry skin. Moist air holds heat better, and higher humidity also makes the same temperature feel warmer, allowing for a more comfortable experience at your new lower thermostat settings.
- Lower the thermostat, and dress warmly. Dropping the temperature to the mid to low sixties, wearing thick socks or slippers, and using throw blankets can help drop the bill from the energy company, and it’s one of the easiest things you can do right this minute to start saving money.
- Make sure your furnace has a clean filter. It’s pretty easy to never, ever think about your furnace filter. I’m sure some of you out there aren’t sure if your furnace even has such a thing, and the bad news is that it probably does, and it’s probably time to change it out for a new one.
The good news is that you’ll see a huge performance increase, and you’ll know to check it next year! Conventional wisdom is to change the filter at least every other year.
- Make sure your heating vents aren’t covered up by furniture. If you’re blocking your heating vents, some of the heat that your furnace is trying to put into the room is going into your couch, and this will seriously lower the efficiency of heating the room. Even worse would be having a rug or other thick obstruction, which makes no hot air come out in the room at all. That’s a real lose-lose situation, so try to make sure you’ve positioned all of your furniture to account for heat.
- Make sure your thresholds are tight. If you see light under your door, chances are your threshold is too low. Doors warp, floors move, and the threshold may sink over time, so there’s a built-in method to fix this issue quickly: simply turn the five screws atop your threshold counterclockwise to raise it incrementally and check the fit periodically as you go. This tightens it down to the weather strip and insulates better, and it’s quick and easy.
- Consider insulated curtains. Opening your curtains is pretty important for heating during sunny days, but for cold days and nights when the sun isn’t helping heat, a set of thick curtains will put a dent in the drafts. If you use blackout curtains in the summer, those same curtains will do well for this (or you can buy blackout curtains for this purpose and enjoy them when summer comes too).
Putting these nine tips to use will certainly help keep your bills lower, and let you enjoy the cold winter weather from the comfort of a toasty warm home!