Ways to Reduce Winter Heating Costs

Temperatures are beginning to fall, and it’s only going to get worse!  We have several months of cold winter days ahead of us so we might as well settle in.  We’ll get out our warm sweaters and throw another log on the fire as we watch the snow fall and the wind blow.  Sounds cozy, right? Maybe, but the problem is that we’ve been told to expect rising energy costs just as winter approaches. Articles like this one from the New York Times explain that homeowners and businesses will certainly be paying more for heating this year as the prices of natural gas, heating oil, and propane have all increased.  Though we can’t control the price of energy, there are a few ways to reduce winter heating costs.

1. Program your thermostat

Experts agree that one of the best ways to reduce heating costs is to take full advantage of your programmable thermostat. If you are gone during the day, you can set your thermostat to drop the temperature while you are gone.  Or if you don’t mind sleeping under an extra blanket, you can keep it colder at night.

2. Seal and insulate

The key to energy efficiency is keeping as much hot air in and cold air out. Two good ways to do that are sealing and insulating. Sealing cracks around windows and doors will prevent heat from leaking out. Insulating walls and attics also keeps warm air from escaping. When more heat is kept in, your furnace will have to run less.

3. Cook at home

While it is dangerous to use an oven as a heat source, using it to cook food will create the side benefit of generating heat. Why not cook a pot roast for dinner or bake a batch of cookies for dessert? Not only will you have a yummy meal, but at the same time you’ll be adding to your home’s heat, causing less demand on your furnace.

4. Close off unused rooms

Heat will fill an empty space. And the bigger the empty space, the more heat it will take to fill it.  Another good strategy for conserving energy is to close off rooms that will not be used to avoid heating them unnecessarily.  Only pay to heat the rooms you’re actually using.

5. Turn on ceiling fans

We often think of ceiling fans as keeping rooms cool, and they do. However, reversing the motion of blades can actually keep the warmer air down in the lower areas where you can enjoy the heat.  Preventing the heat from rising will make your home feel warmer.

6. Let the light shine in

Sunshine is one of the best ways to add a little extra heat to your home.  By keeping curtains open and letting the sun shine in you will not only raise the temperature but also raise your mood a little in the process. Keep curtains open during the sunny days, but be sure to close them at night to keep heat inside.

7. Maintain the furnace

Finally, in these days of high energy costs, you’ll want to make sure your furnace is running efficiently.  Be sure to get a check-up to make sure there are no problems, and then keep the air moving freely by regularly changing out your furnace filters.

Both weather and energy costs are beyond our control, but these simple steps can help you reduce winter heating costs.  Every little bit helps to keep energy costs under control.

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