#1Thing: Easy Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill This Winter

October 28, 2019
Programmable Thermostat

(Photo: Olivier Le Moal/Getty Images)


By Lori Melton

Cold temperatures, shorter days, and a fresh blanket of snow are all classic signs that winter has arrived. Unfortunately, the blustery weather also means it’s time to turn on the heat. You’re not alone if you dread seeing a spike in your heating.

The good news is there are lots of simple things you can do to help reduce energy usage when the cold winds blow. Check out these easy ways to save on your heating bill this winter.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Turning down the thermostat to the lowest temperature you can tolerate is one way to cut home heating costs. According to the Department of Energy, heating costs can drop by 10 percent if you lower your thermostat seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day.

Using a programmable thermostat, like Google Nest, is another option. Devices like these “learn” your coming and going patterns. As such, they automatically adjust the heat during times when you’re away from home or while you are sleeping. Overall, regulating temperatures according to a preset schedule will help reduce energy usage and lower your energy bill.

Let Daylight In

Natural sunlight can warm up interior spaces. Opening the curtains and blinds during the day will allow the sun to heat up a room. At night, closing the blinds and curtains will provide some extra insulation at windows to help retain heat and prevent heat loss.

Seal Cracks

Heat can escape through tiny cracks around windows and doors. This wasted energy drives heating bills up. Check each window and exterior doors. If you feel a draft, use weatherstripping, caulk, or other types of insulation to seal the leaks. Ultimately, plugging leaks will cut heating costs.

Install Energy Efficient Windows and Insulation

If your home improvement budget allows, replace old windows with energy-efficient ones and beef up insulation in the walls, attic, and crawl space. Doing upgrades like these may cost money upfront. However, you’ll reap the energy-saving benefits for years to come. Furthermore, many utility companies offer rebates for making energy-efficient upgrades.

Do Furnace Maintenance

Before winter hits, it’s good to check out your furnace and replace furnace filters. Many HVAC companies offer a reasonably-priced annual furnace inspection. Making sure heating units are operating properly will help drive energy costs down. Plus, changing your filter will also keep the interior air cleaner.

Layer Clothing

Layering clothing is a simple thing you can do to tolerate lower home interior temperatures. Wear a t-shirt under a thick sweater and wrap up in a blanket if you’re sitting down reading or watching TV. Also, you can add extra blankets and quilts while you sleep. This way, you can stay warm and cozy and keep the thermostat dialed down to save money.

Don’t Block Vents

Heating units send warm air through a room via floor or wall vents. Make sure that furniture, bookcases, potted plants, and other obstacles are not blocking airflow from the vents. Free-flowing air keeps a space warmer.

Inspect Ductwork

Sometimes air might flow stronger out of one vent than another. If this is the case, check ductwork in your basement, crawl space or attic. Look for any cracks or disconnected pipes and use metal-backed duct tape to seal gaps. Also, reconnect separated pipes. Doing these things will help prevent heat loss and conserve energy.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans add beauty to a room, but they also serve an important purpose. In warmer months, they cool down a space. Running them in reverse during the winter keeps warm air from rising toward the ceiling. Overall, keeping air circulating close to where you sit, stand, and pass-through keeps rooms warmer.