With a blast of cold arctic air already chilling cities as far south as Houston this winter, don’t let your hard earned money blow away through drafty windows and doors or through un-insulated attics, walls, floors, or basements. Keep that cold air outside and the warm air inside by following these tips:
How to reduce your heating bills IMMEDATELY
Confine your activities to a smaller portion of your home and leave the rest of your home on a lower “night-time” thermostat setting. Heat the one or two rooms you frequent with an electric space heater.
Use electric blankets at night for your sleeping comfort and keep your thermostat low.
Change your furnace filter as often as it actually gets dirty. Stock up on these filters so you always have one ready.
Open drapes or blinds on sunny days, especially on the southern side of your home to take advantage of solar heating.
Seal leaks between moving parts with weather stripping. Think of areas like between a door and its frame or between the window sill and the bottom of the sash.
Make certain all your windows and storm windows are closed and tightly sealed.
Seal air leaks around plumbing pipes, wiring, chimneys, dryer vents, and any other opening to your home with caulk or other sealants.
Reduce your heating bills long term
Have your furnace professional serviced to make sure it’s operating safely and at its optimal efficiency.
Install a programmable thermostat to automate your heat settings. There’s no need to warm a home that has no one in it at the time. Look for products with 7 day programmability and at least 4 different time and temperature settings in a 24-hour period (morning, day, evening, and night).
Replace your window screens with storm windows and doors. If you have older or leaky windows that you can’t replace, use a plastic film kit (available at most hardware stores).
If you decide to shop for new windows or doors, always look for ones with the Energy Star label.
Insulation. Insulation. Insulation. Make certain attics and flooring above unheated areas (such as a room over an unheated garage) are properly insulated. Pay attention to other areas, such as crawl spaces, too.
If you’re not sure whether an opening is leaking air, turn on your furnace for 5 minutes. Go outside while it’s running and blow a small amount of baby powder into the air around the opening. If you see air movement, you know for certain that you need to fill that crack or opening with sealant.