Here’s the true sound of winter: the airy hum of the furnace going off. While comforting — you know you won’t freeze — that sound also represents hard-earned cash (and energy) being burned away. So as the thermostat drops, it's nice to find some small and - even big - ways to save on your heating bill.
Big Renos Can Save Big Bucks
If you’re putting money into your home already, or are pondering some changes, take energy efficiency into account.
New windows can cut your energy bill by about 20%. Better insulated walls anywhere in your house, but particularly your basement and attic, can lead to big cost savings.
But if you’re not investing heavily in your home right now, you can still get energy savings by better weather-proofing around windows and doors with caulking. Heavy blinds or draped around windows also reduces energy loss.
Control the Heat Flow
Particularly in older, multi-storey homes, the heat is not always going where you want it. So if you have an overheated foyer or bathroom while your bedrooms are freezing, shut off the vents. Better still, use magnetic vent covers to really block warm air from going where you just don’t need it.
Electronic thermostats are great tools for saving energy. By installing one and setting it to go on and off when you need and don’t need it can save you up to 15% on your heat bill. Set the heat lower at night when everyone is sleeping and also during the day if there’s no one home. If you’re heading out for the weekend, reduce the heat on your thermostat and put it in hold mode: it will only take about 30 minutes to get back to regular temperature once you reset it when you get home.
There is a myth that you are wasting more energy by making your furnace work hard to heat your house back up to normal, in fact when you turn down your heat, the amount of heat loss to the outside lessens, increasing your money savings when the heat is on low.
Get a Space Heater
Turning your thermostat lower and using space heaters in busy rooms can save you 10% on your heating bill. This idea is not for everyone, but it’s perfect for those who work at home (the house can be left cool while the home office made toasty), live in a hard-to-heat large home, or for those that live alone. Be sure to buy a heater with temperature controls and one that’s safe. Always turn off your heater when you’re not using it and don’t leave it on while sleeping.
But perhaps the best way to save money on heat is to not expect to have a roasting house all winter long. Haul out those wool sweater and get used to a cooler home. Your heating bill will cool off too.