Friday, December 24th, 2021
As outside temperatures fall, indoor temps and heating costs go up! And this winter may come at a higher cost. In fact, while fueling up at the gas station, you’ve seen the impact of our 6.8% inflation rate first-hand.
U.S. households on natural gas heat are expected to pay 25% more than last year. Homeowners who heat their homes with electricity will see a 6.5% spike, while homeowners using heating oil or propane may see a jump as high as 54%!
With that in mind, let’s look at some easy habit changes that will benefit our budgets and our environment.
1. Add rugs to your floors, such as in the bathroom, to help keep rooms insulated. Dress in layers, warm sweaters and socks. Use flannel sheets and more blankets at night to keep your body heat inside.
2. Clean or change air filters for heating devices. Debris is unclean for breathing and will keep the warm air from circulating. Move furniture and curtains away from heaters to enable airflow and prevent fire hazards.
3. Lower the thermostat by 7-10 degrees when everyone is out for the day. An electronic thermostat usually allows you to set the temperature to automatically increase or decrease as your schedule changes each day. If going away for a few days, do not reduce temps to less than 55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.
4. Call a professional to inspect your furnace and either clean it or upgrade it. The cost can be well worth the savings in heating. An old and dirty furnace system can work at 60 to 70% efficiency; switching to a newer, high-efficiency system can work at 90 to 98%.
5. Contact your utility company for a free home check-up. Costs for service or upgrades can be offset by federal tax credits, and utility rebates are available for many energy-efficient upgrades.
6. Check windows for leaks. Detect air leaks by lighting a candle and watching if it blows in a certain direction. Seal windows with caulking or spray-foam insulation, or cover with plastic insulation sheets. Put draft stoppers under doorways.
7. Open the shades during sunlight hours to let the sun naturally heat up your space. Close curtains at night to retain your heat and prevent cold night air from entering. Insulated curtains can help to better trap the heat than basic curtains would.
8. Use plug-in space heaters to warm up isolated areas instead of turning on entire heating zones if all the space is not in use. Place them in open areas, away from flammable items and children or pets. Close vents in rooms that are not being used to avoid unnecessary output.
9. Switch to LED light bulbs. They use about 75 percent less energy and last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Though their initial cost is higher, it pays off in the form of reduced electric bills over time. Unplug devices that are not in use.
10. Reduce your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. Many houses or buildings have water heaters set to a burning temperature of 140 degrees. Reducing it to a comfortable 120 degrees is safer for skin and easier on heating costs.
Following a few of these easy-to-implement tips and hacks for saving on heat costs can make a big difference. Put them to good use so you can sit back and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa during this cold winter, content that you
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