With energy costs on the rise, it is essential for a homeowner to stay on top of all they can in order reduce their heating and utility bills during the cold Winter months. Here are some things consumers can do on their own at little or no cost to keep money in their pockets every month.

  • Check windows and doors for drafts. Seal spaces with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Look at all of the utility-entry places around the outside of your home, and fill around pipes with insulation or cement, if practical.
  • Close the foundation/crawlspace vents as soon as temps get colder than 40°. This helps protect water pipes from freezing as well.
  • Go into the attic and inspect your insulation, or consider adding insulation if you haven’t taken that step. This can cut your energy costs and pay for itself in a few years.
  • Check ductwork for places where it may have come apart and repair—this job may be better for a service person to undertake.
  • The sun can be used to help keep the house warm by simply keeping curtains on the south side of your home open during the day.
  • Hanging thicker panels or thermal curtains can help insulate around windows as well.  If you don’t want to change curtains, easy-to-install cellular shades allow light to shine through while insulating your windows. 
  • Plastic sheeting is inexpensive and easy to install on drafty windows or unused patio doors, and just as easy to remove when Spring arrives. Kits are available at hardware and home improvement stores.
  • Have your furnace serviced before it’s time to use it, and replace your filters once a month.
  • Close the damper in the fireplace when you're not using it.
  • Install a programmable thermostat--if heating with a heat pump, make sure the thermostat is the type specifically for heat pumps.  Program the thermostat for the lowest temperature setting that your family is comfortable while at home, preferably in the 60° range. Turning it down 10°-15° at night and using an extra blanket will calculate to big savings on your energy use and costs.
  • Using a humidifier is not only healthier, it can cut down on heating costs. The more moisture there is in the air, the warmer you feel.
  • If you use ceiling fans, make sure they’re turning clockwise on low speed to pull up cool air, and circulate the warm air that collects near the ceiling.
  • Thinking about changing your home’s heat source? Do it before the cold weather sets in.  Check out the many different products available to help you make this decision.

The Department of Energy states that simply turning down the thermostat is the number one money-saver. For every degree it’s lowered, consumers save approximately 3% on heating costs.  Lowering the temperature may mean wearing a sweater and socks inside, but the money you can save outweighs the bulky clothes. 




Photo credit:Pure Green Lawn and Tree Professionals