Depending on where you live in the country, this winter could be a rough one – especially if you heat your house with oil, which estimates say will cost you twice what it did last year. Ouch. So while it is still nice outside and before the first winter storm strikes, here are ten things you should do around your house to keep those heating bills down this winter.
1. Install a programmable thermostat. You don’t need to heat your house to 70 degrees if no one is home all day, so set it to heat up the house right before you get home from work. That way you are not running your heater at full blast all afternoon, but rather just keeping the house from freezing over!
2. Install your storm windows and doors. If you have had your screens up all summer and you have glass inserts for the winter, now might be a good time to start putting them in. I hated doing this at my house when I was a kid, so if you spread it out over a few weekends it won’t seem as bad.
3. Open the blinds and drapes during the day and close them at night. During the day, the sun will come in and help warm up your house, and at night you should close them so the heat stays indoors.
4. Have your furnace serviced. Now is the time to make the appointment, before winter comes and everyone else wants theirs done. A serviced and cleaned furnace runs more efficiently, saving you money as you heat your house.
5. Insulate any heating ducts exposed to colder weather. Do you have any exposed heating ducts running through your garage or attic? You might want to think about wrapping them in insulation to prevent the heat from escaping or cooling down as it is working its way around your home.
6. Temporarily seal your attic door door shut. Our attic door was one of those pull-down stairways and the heat went right up through the cracks in the door. Using either plastic sheets and tape or an attic door cover, you can easily seal off that escape route.
7. Close heating ducts or rooms that don’t require much heat. No sense in heating rooms that are not used. We had a storage room inside our house downstairs that we kept shut and closed the ducts in, as there wasn’t anything in there that needed warming up!
8. As well as in the summer, check the temperature on your water heater. No need to heat water up to boiling, you are just wasting money – 120 degrees is surely high enough for most needs. Also, make sure your water heater is wrapped in insulation.
9. If you don’t use your fireplace to heat your home, think about sealing it shut for the winter. I remember my parents always complaining about the heat escaping up the chimney; why didn’t they put some plastic sheeting over the fireplace itself to stop it from happening?
10. Use fans to move the heated air around your house. If you have ceiling fans, set them on the lowest speed and have them push the warm air at the ceiling down to your level. (heat rises) This could allow you to lower the temperature of your thermostat by making the room feel a lot warmer.
So with winter coming, what kinds of things are you planning on doing to save money on your heating bills? The costs are supposed to be a lot higher this year than last; we all need to get ready and do what we can!
Photo by by @rild