When winter bites, it can be tempting to turn up the heat and luxuriate in the warmth of your home. However, heating bills quickly add up. Overusing your central heating could end up costing huge sums of money, and it's detrimental to the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of clever ways to keep your heating bill down. With a little creativity and conscientious thinking, you can enjoy a cozy winter while being kind to both your bank balance and the planet.
A draughty house can get chilly very quickly. If you notice cold air entering through doors and windows, check the integrity of your weatherstripping and caulking. Patch up any cracks or gaps with caulking, or hire a professional to complete the job. It is worth noting that weatherstripping only lasts for around five years, after which time it needs to be replaced or repaired.
Leaving the heating on when you're out of the house wastes a significant amount of energy. However, returning to a stone-cold house after a hard day of work is equally problematic. The solution to this issue is to invest in a programmable thermostat that allows you to set the precise times you would like the heating to turn on and at what temperature. During very cold weeks, it may be necessary to keep the heating on at a low level throughout the day to keep pets warm and stop pipes from freezing.
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of people willing to wear t-shirts while their heaters work at full capacity. Keep your thermostat as low as possible by wrapping up in cozy knits, big shawls, and thermal underwear. On top of saving you money, it gives you an excellent excuse to invest in some chic winter fashion pieces.
An old and inefficient furnace or water heater will waste lots of energy. To ensure that yours remains up to the job of heating your home, get it serviced on a regular basis. The heating professional you hire may recommend that you replace the appliance with a more modern, energy-efficient model. If this is the case, you could be eligible for a rebate or some kind of government incentive plan. Check with your local government office before making any investments.
Closing all of your blinds or curtains at night will reduce the amount of heat lost after the sun sets and the temperature starts to plunge. It is also a good idea to open your curtains during sunny days to ensure that as much natural heat as possible comes into the house.
Fireplaces and gas room-heaters are becoming increasingly popular in modern homes. As well as being relatively inexpensive, they look great and allow you to heat a single room without having to heat the whole house. Who doesn't love sitting next to a roaring flame with a cup of hot cocoa in their hand? Just remember to find devices fueled by natural gas and bio-ethanol rather than wood, as burning logs can produce pollution and irritate the lungs.
Winter is an excellent time to take up baking, as the oven is a very efficient source of heat. When you finish baking a cake or roasting a sumptuous joint of meat and turn off the oven, simply leave the door open and allow the heat to circulate around the kitchen. On top of reducing the need for central heating, baking releases a host of mouth-watering smells to whet your family's appetite.
It is easy to forget that the amount of hot water you use can significantly affect your heating bill. Cut costs by using a low-flow shower head, avoiding too many indulgent baths, and altering the settings of your washing machine so it uses only cold water. Don't worry about the cleanliness of your clothes — there are plenty of special detergents on the market designed to leave clothes feeling fresh without the need for hot water.
Chimneys represent one of the most significant sites of heat loss in family homes. If you have a chimney, it is important to block it up when not in use. There are a few ways you could do this, including chimney caps, chimney balloons, and top-sealing dampers. All of these solutions are relatively low in cost and easy to install, so don't hesitate to invest in one today.
If, like the majority of North Americans, you use a furnace to heat your home, it is vital that you clean the filter on a regular basis. Doing so will ensure plenty of airflow through the furnace, thereby boosting its performance and reducing your energy bills. If the filter is too clogged and dirty, you may need to replace it.