As I type this post I am looking out the bay windows watching the snow fall and very few cars out on the roads. My kids and husband are home from school and work while I am here in my office. I am so grateful for electricity and heat today! There seems to be no better time than today to talk about how to save on heating costs.
As outside temperatures fall, indoor temps and heating costs go up! While some love the peaceful white snowfall and it is very picturesque, the winter utility bills are not quite as pretty. And this winter may come at a higher cost. In fact, while fueling up at the gas station, you’ve seen the impact of our 6.8% inflation rate first-hand.
U.S. households on natural gas heat are expected to pay 25% more than last year. Homeowners who heat their homes with electricity will see a 6.5% spike, while homeowners using heating oil or propane may see a jump as high as 54%!
While we can’t change the weather or the economy, we can change our habits to be smarter for our budget and more environmentally friendly.
With that in mind, let’s look at some easy habit changes that will benefit our budgets and our environment:
- Add rugs to your floors to help insulate rooms. Dress in layers, warm sweaters and socks. Use flannel sheets and more blankets at night.
- Clean or change air filters. Debris is unclean for breathing and will impede warm air circulation.
- Lower the thermostat by 7-10 degrees when everyone is out for the day. Use a thermostat that automatically adjusts according to your schedule.
- Have a pro inspect and tune up your furnace. The cost can be well worth the savings since old furnaces can work at just 60 to 70% efficiency.
- Contact your utility company for a free home check-up. You may be able to offset service or upgrade costs by federal tax credits and/or utility rebates.
- Check windows for leaks. Detect them by lighting a candle and watching if it blows in a certain direction. If you find any, seal them up with caulking, foam insulation or plastic insulation sheets.
- Open the shades during sunlight hours and close at night to retain the heat.
- Use heaters to warm up isolated areas instead of turning on entire heating zones if all the space is not in use. Also, close vents in rooms not being used to avoid unnecessary output.
- Switch to LED light bulbs. They use about 75 percent less energy and last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Though the initial cost is higher, it pays off over time.
- Reduce your water heater temperature to 120 degrees, which is safer for skin and easier on heating costs.
These are just a few ways you can prepare for both the colder temperatures and try to get ahead of the higher winter utility bills. Stay safe and warm this winter!