Utah may be experiencing one of the warmest winters on record, but that doesn’t mean we’re exactly turning into the tropics. We still have plenty of cold days and winter storms rolling through. Like right now. Before you wrap yourself in yet another blanket or reach for that thermostat dial—and feel the burn from your gas or electric company—check out these easy ways to lower your heating bill.
- Draw the Curtains—Take advantage of solar heating and harness the sun, suggests The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Drawing your curtains can make a big difference in your home heating costs by helping to reduce drafts and insulate the home. During the day, keep your curtains open to welcome in the sunshine and draw them at night to help retain the heat.
- Adjust the Thermostat—Keep your home comfortably cool. Adjusting your thermostat to about 68 degrees can help reduce your heating bill significantly. For every degree you turn it down in the 60-70-degree temperature range, you can save up to five percent on your next heating bill. If you’re away for the day or at work, adjust your thermostat ten to fifteen degrees cooler for more drastic savings. According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
- Reduce Your Hot Water Temperature—Unless you’re a fan of taking 140-degree temperature showers, it’s safe to say that you won’t have to sacrifice much for this one. Reduce your hot water temperature setting to 120-degrees Fahrenheit and soak up seven to eleven percent of savings on your next heating bill, according to the Consumer Energy Center.
- Eliminate Wasted Energy—This might seem like common sense, but turning your lights off, unplugging your outlets and cords, and closing your fireplace damper when it’s not in use are a few quick and efficient ways to lower your heating bill. Do you have bedrooms, guest rooms, home offices, or other spaces that you don’t use regularly? Close the vents. This will force more air into the rooms you are using and make the heating system more efficient.
- Use Your Hot Water Appliances Efficiently—Boost your savings by being mindful of your heating use when it comes to household appliances. When doing the dishes or the laundry, wait until you have a full load before running them. When washing your clothes, use the cold-water setting when appropriate.
- Reverse Your Ceiling Fans—Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans and setting it at a low speed in a clockwise direction will help circulate heated air back down to the ground for a warmer living space. “The less that’s wasted, the less demand there is on heating systems and the more you save,” said Distractify.
- Check for Leaks—Check appliances and common leak areas like windows and door frames, electrical outlets, crawlspaces and fireplaces. According to Vault Energy Solutions, “older appliances with loose doors and worn gaskets work harder and leak conditioned air, costing more money to run.” If you want to be really thorough, you can rent blower door equipment or hire a professional home energy auditor. However, if you’re looking for an easy, free way, “the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recommends checking door seals by putting a dollar bill in the door as you close it to see if it stays in place, or placing a lighted flashlight inside a fridge pointed at the door seal in a darkened room; if you can see light shining through, you’ve got a worn gasket.”
- Download an Energy Monitoring App—Who knew that cutting down on your heating bill could be fun? With the Department of Energy’s “Kill-Ur-Watts” free app, users can keep track of their energy use and save money with customizable graphs and live “scores.”
BONUS: Two larger fixes you might want to consider for next year:
- Re-insulate areas that are drafty—Spray foam insulation is the favorite choice today among builders thanks to its superior air sealing ability. You might not want to tear open walls just to re-insulate, but if you’re renovating or adding on, swapping those toxic pink strips of fiberglass for spray foam can keep the warm air in and help your heater work more efficiently.
- Replace your front door—Installing an insulated front door is another way to improve your energy efficiency. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report, replacing your front door with a steel front door is the home renovation that provides the best ROI at 96 percent.
Do you have any other quick and easy ways to lower your heating bills? Share with us below!