Anyone who has a house to heat in the cooler months of fall and winter knows the inevitable shock of paying the electric or gas bills every month. Heating costs can put quite a dent in your wallet but there are some tips that may ease the pain somewhat.
· The most obvious advice is to make sure you have good windows and doors. Make sure that they are sealed properly so that cold are cannot get in and your expensive heated air does not leak out. If you can afford energy efficient windows and plan on staying in your home for a while, they are a good investment. Also, make sure your house is sufficiently insulated. Uninsulated or under insulated walls and attic spaces make for expensive energy bills.
· Get a programmable thermostat. You can program the temperature to rise and fall according to your schedule every day of the week. According to Energy.gov, "By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill - a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates." Here's another interesting fact from Energy.gov, "A commonmisconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly. The lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer -- a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning."
· If you spend most of your time at home in one room, use a space heater. Keep the temperature on the thermostat at a lower level for the house but use a space heater for whichever room you spend the most time in. According to GoodHousekeeping.com, "Keeping the thermostat at 62 degrees and putting a space heater in one room can save about $200 a year."
· Open your blinds and curtains during the day to let the sun in and close them at dusk. Curtains are great for helping to block drafts from windows. If your windows are that drafty though, you better look into sealing them or better yet, replacing them with more energy efficient ones.
My Dad used to get mad anytime anyone touched the thermostat. Ever since I've been paying my own bills, I know why. Personally I like a cooler house. So here's another obvious tip that my children hear all the time, "Put a sweater on!" J
(Sources: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/budget/cut-heating-costs, http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/thermostats)