The cost of heating your home is always top-of-mind as the cold weather settles in, but with energy prices soaring this year, it’s more pressing than ever. There are ways around this and you can cut costs—even without shivering and suffering all winter. Here are a few ways to reduce your heating bill without freezing in the process.
Lower the temps in your house
To start with, yes, the Department of Energy does suggest resetting your thermostat, especially when you’re sleeping or away from home. You can save up to 10% a year by reducing the thermostat seven to 10 degrees for eight hours per day. The Department of Energy recommends a temp of 68°F during waking hours and even lower when you’re asleep. Here’s our guide for making your bed the warmest it can be.
Electric blankets are less of a drain on your precious energy than whole-home heating, so consider using one when you first get into bed—but make sure it’s off before you drift away to sleep. While you’re at it, lower the temperature of your water heater, too. Usually, according to Geico, they’re set around 140°F, but really don’t need to be above 120. Your showers will still be warm, but your costs will be lower.
Other smart thermostat options
The Department of Energy makes another good thermostat-related point: For maximum efficiency and less waste, you have to be sure your device isn’t giving “ghost readings” or doing any unnecessary cycling. You need it on an interior wall and away from sunlight, drafts, doorways, and windows, and positioned where natural air currents occur. Don’t put furniture in front of or below your thermostat, either, since that will block the currents it needs to regulate the temp.
Close vents you’re not near
The furnace vents in rooms you’re not occupying should be closed, per Geico, so you’re not heating rooms that aren’t in use. If you plan to use a room, just reopen the vent in advance. Be sure to keep the doors to unoccupied rooms closed, too. In fact, for the most warmth possible, you should be closing your interior doors any time you enter or exit a room in the winter.
Do home repairs
If you’re trying to save money, home repairs might not seem like the inexpensive solution. There are simple fixes you can make, though, that will help your home stay warmer longer—and require less heating.
First, look to your attic, according to Geico. If you don’t have at least 11 inches of insulation, heat will simply escape through the top of the residence. Check for cracks in the attic floor, too, and fix them. These don’t have to be beautiful renovations; no one is going to see them. But you shouldn’t have cracks that air can escape through, especially if that air is heading up to an uninsulated attic.
Cracks and drafts are a problem anywhere in the house, actually. Light a candle in any room where you think there might be a draft, then watch the smoke trail to see where it blows. Once you’ve identified where the draft is coming from, seal it up by whatever means necessary, whether it’s sealing your windows or DIY-ing a door draft guard.