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Ways to Save Money on Winter Heating Costs

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

 

Top Ten Ways to Beat Winter Heating Costs

inter fast approaches, and as colder temperatures begin to chill your home, chances are you’re bracing yourself for another unwelcome seasonal spike in your home heating costs.
 
The average U.S. household spends more than $2,200 on home heating costs each year, and obviously a home’s gas and electricity consumption shoots skyward as the temperature drops. That said, there are a lot of great ways to cut your heating costs as the days grow shorter and the weather becomes colder. Let’s take a look at 10 great ways to do that:

  1. Use a programmable thermostat. These can save $100 a year in energy costs by giving you control over when you heat your home and by how much, as well as being able to have it shut off when you’ll be out.
  2. You might have heard it before, but replace your heating and ventilation system’s air filter on at least a bi-monthly basis in order to ensure it doesn’t have to work overly hard and consume too much power.
  3. Similarly, keep vents and baseboard heaters and registers clear of any blockage due to furniture and similar impediments to ensure smooth airflow.
  4. Consider replacing your heating system if it is older than 15 years. A newer, more efficient system might quickly pencil out in terms of energy savings and any possible rebates for offerings such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Department of Energy’s Energy Star program.
  5. Seal things up. Check for heat leaks in typical places, such as doors, windows and fireplace dampers. A great way to do that is by holding a lit candle near the seams on these fixtures. If the flame flickers, you have a leak, and it’s time to get out the caulk and weather stripping, and go to work.
  6. Light switch plates and outlet plates can also cause drafts. Check them, as well, and use pre-cut foam gaskets to help seal up any of these items that have a leak.
  7. Ceiling fans can help move heat around your home. If you have one, set it for its slowest speed in reverse to help draw warm air down from the ceiling to the floor, without causing a breeze.
  8. Instead of cranking the heat up prior to going to bed, opt for the old fashioned technique of using a hot water bottle to pre-heat your bed. Water does a better job of retaining heat and will give you a comfy snooze.
  9. Consider using insulating paint or an insulating additive to your paint (such as those available from Insuladd® or Hy-Tech®). Using special ceramic additives, these paints and additives help seal cracks and other imperfections that can cause heat loss, and can deliver as much as a 20 percent savings on heating costs, according to manufacturer claims. They also can help dampen noise and offer a more even coating.

For your holiday decorating, try to use LED holiday bulbs to add sparkle to your home without gobbling up electricity. Believe it or not, but 12 old style, incandescent bulbs use the same wattage as 2,000 medium-size LED lights.