How to save money on your heating bill
It can be very expensive to heat the home but few people are aware how much money they are practically giving away by not performing some simple household maintenance tasks. A little time and money spent preventing heat loss will reward the homeowner with lower heating bills in both the short and long term.
Simple ways to reduce costs
Turn the thermostat down and put on an extra layer of clothing. Research data has shown that turning the temperature down by only 1° can reduce heating bills by up to 10%. For even greater control over heating, install a smart thermostat. This can be programmed to turn on only when needed and could even be customized to zone certain parts of the home.
Turn lights off in rooms that are not being used and do not leave electrical items, such as televisions and satellite boxes, on standby. Most of these boxes can be turned off without affecting any entered programming. Set washing machines to clean the laundry at 30° and only use the kettle to boil the required amount of water rather than filling it up to the top every time.
It is incredible how much heat is lost through the windows. Check window frames for cracks and gaps, and fill these with an expanding foam sealant or caulking material. The way a window is dressed will also help to insulate the room. Curtains that are hung close to the wall and close, though not touching, to the windows will help to keep heat inside. For a more attractive, environmentally-friendly and trendy window dressing, install some beautiful shutters. These form a tight fit into the window frame, acting almost like double-glazing and providing excellent insulation. Even little things, like using draft excluders at the base of doors can help to prevent heat loss.
More expensive measures
Much of a home’s heat is lost through the attic or loft space, and the basement or crawl areas, so it is essential that these areas are properly insulated. Insulation is easy to lay and can be carried out as a DIY project, saving the homeowner as much as $100 a year or more. At the same time, place lagging around the water pipes and tank. A jacket around the water tank will reduce heat loss by more than 75%. Lagging around the pipes will also help to prevent burst pipes during the winter.
If a furnace is more than 15 years old, it would be better to replace it with a modern, energy efficient one. However, this is a big expense and one that may take a few years to recoup. Ensure that the furnace is serviced regularly and change air filters as and when needed, as a clogged filter can stop the furnace from working altogether. A well-maintained furnace could reduce heating costs by up to 10%.
Ultimately, the best, but definitely the most expensive way to achieve long term cuts on heating bills is to install some form of renewable energy storage, such as solar panels. One solar panel could save more than $500 dollars a year, but will take a few years before the installation costs start paying for themselves.