It's simple: if you use less energy, your bills will be lower. But saving energy doesn't mean you have to give up comfort. Using the tips below will not only save energy (and money), but it will also keep you warm and cozy all winter long.
1. Put your thermostat to 68 degrees
For every degree below 70 that your thermostat is set below, you can easily save 5% on your heating costs. Just lowering the temperature by 2 degrees, from 70 to 68, will cut your energy costs by 10%.
So, DON'T turn off the heat while you are gone. It takes more energy to get your home back to a comfortable temperature, and if the temperature drops below freezing, your pipes could burst. Instead, just turn down the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees.
2. Buy a smart or programmable thermostat
When you program your thermostat, you can lower the temperature when you are at work or asleep to save energy and raise it before you get home to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. Most programmable thermostats let you set more than one time and temperature to fit your needs. We recommend smart thermostats like the Nest, which can cut your heating costs by 10 to 12 percent.
3. Turn your fan on
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you should flip it when you turn on the heat to make the blades go in the opposite direction. This makes the fan create an updraft, which pushes the hot air that rises to your ceiling back down into the room.
4. Open the blinds and curtains during the day and close them at night
During the day, open your windows and let the sun in to make your home warmer. Make sure all the windows are covered at night to stop drafts and heat loss through the glass.
5. Move furniture out of the way of vents
Look around the house quickly and make sure none of the vents are blocked. If they are, find a way to move your furniture inside, at least for the winter. This will make sure that every room is as warm as it can be.
6. Send the heat to the rooms you use the most
When it comes to making sure each room gets the most heat possible, closing the doors and vents to rooms that aren't being used will help the home's heating system focus on the important parts.
7. Watch out for fireplaces that burn wood
Even though it may be warm right next to the crackling fire, all the heat rising up through the fireplace pulls cold air into the house in other places. Make sure your fireplace has a glass front and that the flue is closed when you're not using it. This will help keep most of the warm air in your home from going up the chimney once the fire is out.
8. Seal ducts and stop leaks around doors and windows
Check to see if the air ducts are sealed, and if you see any holes, fill them with insulation. Check your doors and windows while you're at it. They could be wasting 10% of your energy costs. Install weather-stripping or caulk around draft doors and windows to stop these leaks. Electrical outlets in exterior walls and gaps around water pipes where they go through walls are also common ways for heat to escape from your home. Check these parts of your home for cracks and seal them up to save even more on heating costs.
9. Put more insulation in the ceiling
Want to cut heating loss by 5–25% quickly? You can find it right over your head. If your ceiling isn't properly insulated, it lets warm air escape, which makes your thermostat work harder to keep the temperature up and drives up your heating costs. For the best results, think about putting in R-38 insulation.
10. Take care of your heater
Keep the filter clean and have a licensed contractor look at your unit. If your unit has been in use for 15 years or more, you might want to consider upgrading it to make it work better.
11. Cover wood floors with layers
Up to 10% of a home's heat loss can come from wood floors that are not insulated. Carpets and rugs keep rooms warmer. Add a rug or roll of carpet to keep your feet warm and safe.
12. Change to a plan with a fixed rate
Plans with variable rates change each month based on how the market is doing. So, what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as last month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, don't change during the length of your contract, which is usually 6, 12, 18, or 24 months. Fixed rates are lower than variable rates, and having a constant rate makes it easier to budget for winter heating.
13. Wrap up warmly
This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to save money on your winter gas bills. Most websites about saving energy suggest setting the highest heating temperature to less than 70 degrees. For people who feel cold when the temperature is below 70 degrees, a light jacket, sweatshirt, long-sleeved shirt, or sweater can help keep them warm without having to turn up the thermostat and use more natural gas.
14. Chop down those trees
Even though it doesn't have much to do with energy efficiency, sick trees and branches near your house can be dangerous when it rains. High winds and ice can cause limbs and trees to fall to the ground, through windows, walls, or onto your roof. In addition to the damage to your house, this could also hurt other people.
Look around your yard and home for signs of dead trees and branches before the weather gets too bad or before the first snow. You can get rid of what you can yourself, or you can call a reputable tree service to take care of the problem.
Here are some signs to look for to tell if a tree or branch is dead:
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