Money Monday: 10 Ways to Save on Heating Costs This Winter
Mother Nature has already given us a pretty generous sample of the cold and blustery winter weather that's just around the corner for Northeast Indiana. While the mere thought of winter weather sends many of us into uncontrollable shivers and rage, a feeling that all Hoosiers can agree on is the stress that this season causes in terms of paying for warmth.
Before you upset yourself too much worrying about those upcoming heating bills, though, take these steps to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, reduce energy costs, and save money as a result.
1. Invite in the sun. During the daytime, open the curtains on south-facing windows to let in sunlight. This helps to warm your home more than you may realize. Close all window blinds and curtains at night to keep the heat from escaping.
2. Layer up. Continually upping the heat when you get chilly throughout the day and turning it back down once you've warmed up can wreak havoc on your utility bills. Instead, invest in some quality sweatshirts, socks, area rugs, and blankets. When the shivers set in, layer up and move around for a few minutes until you're at a comfortable temperature again.
3. Put it in reverse. Make sure that your ceiling fans are rotating clockwise, as this pushes warm air back down into the room. Keep them on low settings and they'll gently, consistently spread the warmth through a room.
4. Cool off at night. You can save up to 15% a year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Experts recommend that during the winter, you set your thermostat at 68°F during the day, and drop it to 58°F each night before crawling into bed. Invest in some warm pajamas and flannel sheets and you'll have a cool, but comfortable sleep (and dream of savings!)
5. Close it off. Rooms that you never use - like guest rooms and attics - should have their vents and any drafty openings, like the space between the door and floor, closed off and covered to prevent your home from working harder to get heat to these areas. You can save up to $200 a year by setting your thermostat to 62°F and using a small space heater in the rooms you frequent most.
6. Clean your furnace. Regular maintenance will ensure that it's working efficiently and will reduce excess energy consumption.
7. Add a little moisture. Invest in a humidifier for your home. Moist air holds more heat - and therefore feels warmer. House plants also help to increase humidity inside your home. And both humidifiers and house plants can have excellent health benefits, too. Win-win!
8. Insulate. If your home isn't insulated, chances are, you're losing hundreds of dollars in heating and energy costs. Invest in some inexpensive insulation and cover areas where heat is most likely to escape - like drafty openings around doors and windows.
9. Go energy efficient. When decorating for the holidays, keep in mind that LED lights use 75 percent less energy and they last 25 times longer than older, incandescent bulbs. They're also more resistant to breakage.
10. Cut back on exhaust fan usage. Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans take hot air and pull it up towards the ceiling. When possible, keep them off, and if you must switch them on, don't leave them running for long.