Fall officially arrives this week, and with it will inevitably come heating bills. If you want to keep those heating bills as low as possible in the coming months, here are some of the best, most cost-effective ways to do it.
No-cost efficiency fixes
Program your thermostat – A programmable thermostat can help you save 10 percent on your heating bills, says the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Setting it for a sensible temperature helps, too: aim for 68 degrees when people are home to get the best balance of comfort and energy efficiency.
Get sun-powered – Open curtains and blinds during the day to absorb solar heat, then close them at night to keep that heat in.
Adjust your water heater thermostat – Most water heater thermostats have a default setting that is higher than it needs to be (typically 130 to 140 degrees); 120 degrees is enough for most hot water applications in your home.
Wash clothes in cold water – You’ll have to heat 30+ gallons of water to wash clothes on warm or hot settings. Why do that when today’s detergents are made to clean clothes at any temperature?
Adjust your ceiling fan – The rotation of most ceiling fans can be reversed with a flip of a switch; make sure yours is set to push rising warm air back into the room during the fall and winter.
Medium-cost efficiency fixes
Fix air leaks – Drafts around doors and windows can cost you plenty over the course of a heating season – not just in lost heat, but also in wear and tear on your furnace or boiler. Caulking and weather sealing are cheap, effective ways to minimize air leaks.
Upgrade your windows – If your budget allows, consider replacing single pane windows with Energy Star™ rated models. You’ll have fewer drafts, which will take some of the pressure off your gas furnace.
Install a new heating system – Most of today’s high-efficiency home comfort equipment performs significantly better than older equipment – especially if that equipment hasn’t been properly maintained. If you’re replacing a 10-year-old system, your heating bill might drop 25 percent or more – enough to offset the investment in a new unit in just a few years.