Lower Home Heating Bills This Season While Staying Comfortable

Published on: November 4, 2013

Assuming you got here by searching for “lower heating bills,” take a moment to go back to a search engine and enter, “I want higher heating bills.” You won’t find an answer to that one. Nobody wants to pay more than necessary to heat their house, and everybody wants a warm, welcoming home.

Here are nine ways to get lower heating bills while still feeling comfortable.

  • Let the sun shine in.Take advantage of the sun’s free radiant heat to warm your house. Keep curtains or blinds open by day to let the sun warm your home naturally. As the earth rotates away from the sun, close curtains or blinds to prevent the captured heat from radiating back out. Make sure your decorative curtains have backings, too, to trap the heat inside.
  • Turn down your thermostat. Drop the heat setting to 68 degrees during times you’re home. Turn it down another 10 degrees overnight and when you’re not home.
  • Put on layers of clothing. You don’t have to walk around your home dressed for an Arctic expedition, but layers of clothing insulate you by trapping air close to your body. You can add or take off layers depending on your activity level, rather than walking over to the thermostat to nudge it up a few degrees. And keep your socks on! If your feet are warm, you whole body feels warmer than when your tootsies are cold. You can still feel comfortable while knowing you’ll be getting lower heating bills.
  • Reverse and run your ceiling fans.You wisely used them all summer long to pull cool air up from the floor. Reverse the fan’s direction and pull the warm air down from the ceiling. It’s simple convection;warm air is less dense than cool air, so warm air sits on top of denser, cool air. If you do nothing, the warm air will rise to the ceiling and stay there until it cools off, when it will fall to your floor and stay there until it warms up. That’s convection. Move the process along with a low-moving ceiling fan that pulls warm air gently down from the ceiling and forces the cool air up. You’ll get an ambient, comfortable temperature.
  • Rearrange your furniture.Well, not completely – just ensure that air registers aren’t blocked. It’s easy to forget that air is a fluid. It flows out from ducts through warm air registers and then back into your heating system by return air vents. Airflow also holds true for baseboard heat. Shoving a sofa or chest of drawers up against the baseboard heater slows the circulation of air. If you interfere with airflow, you interfere with furnace efficiency.
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. Wrap the water heater in a specially designed insulation blanket. Inspect and repair insulation around ducts and hot water pipes. Add weatherstripping. Every dollar spent here will lead to lower heating bills.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Installing one can shave up to 30 percent off your heating bill. You’ll recover the modest investment through lower heating bills in a very short time. Replacing your outdated thermostat is a simple screwdriver job for the average homeowner. When installing it, make sure the programmable thermostat is located where it can sense the average house temperature, not in direct sunlight or in a closed-off room, and roughly central in your home. If you’ve remodeled your home, adding square footage, have an HVAC technician relocate the thermostat to the new center of your expanded home.
  • Have your heating system serviced annually. Few of us are qualified HVAC technicians, capable of tinkering around inside a furnace your family is depending on to keep warm. During annual preventive maintenance, an HVAC pro can spot and stop trouble, clean your unit and change filters, and ensure that everything’s running efficiently. A service contract saves money over the long run, since it’s almost like insurance against large problems.
  • Replacing a heating system? Make sure it’s Energy Star qualified.Talk to a professional you trust when choosing a system, to be sure you’re getting the right size and type heating system for your home.

For more great ideas to lower heating bills without sacrificing comfort, search to find a contractor in the southeast.