10 (Mostly Free) Ways to Cut Your Winter Heating Bill

WHATS SUCKING HEAT OUT OF HOME

GREENSBORO, NC – “Enjoy this day, it’ll be the last warm one for a while,” said WFMY Chief Meteorologist Grant Gilmore at Wednesday’s afternoon editorial meeting. The weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the 20s, so it means winter is finally upon us.

And this means, the heating bills will start to go up. So, just like we gave you ways to cut your summer heating bills here’s ten ways to keep as much heat in your home, while keeping the money in your wallet.

10. Upgrade the water heater and thermostat (from Popular Mechanics)

This tip will probably cost the most, but will save the most over time. An energy efficient water heater and programmable thermostat can save up to $300 a year on your bill. If you already have a programmable thermostat, TURN IT DOWN. Yes, turning it down during the day when you’re not at home can cut costs by 10 percent. But, just don’t turn it off. Turning it off could drop the temperature in your home up to 20 degrees, making your heater work twice as hard at night.

9. Stop Using Old Appliances (from Spark Energy)

Another costly one at first (don’t worry, the free tips are coming.) Using old appliances can really suck the life out of your home and money out of your bank account. Many appliances now are energy-efficient. So, an old refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, dryer, or stove can cost you more money. Try upgrading at least one appliance when you can.

8. Change the Light bulbs (from Duke Energy/Money Q&A)

Try to replace all the light bulbs in rooms you use the most. Use CFLs, or compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs use 75% less power than a standard light bulb and last up to six times longer.

7. Take Quicker Showers (from Consumer Energy Center)

Jump in and out of the shower. Okay, not really, but cutting the shower in half can cut costs by 33 percent. Showers can account for 2/3 of water heating costs.  

EXTRA TIP: You can lower the temperature on your water heater by 20 degrees as well.

6. Wash Clothes in Cold Water (from Consumer Energy Center)

Same principle as the shower tip. Washing in cold water can save you over 40 cents per load. (Air drying when you can could also cut costs)

5. Lock the Doors and Windows (from Popular Mechanics)

When you lock your windows, you can feel them pushing together more tightly. Secure the window to keep out the draft. And while you’re doing this, check your weather stripping. If you can slip a sheet of paper under your door frame or in between the window and frame, then the gap is too wide and you’ll need to seal it off to keep warm air in.

4. Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction (from All Right Heating, Cooling and Electrical INC)

This is one I didn’t know until I started digging. You can change the direction of the fan during the seasons to maximize the air flow. A fan in the winter should run counter-clockwise to push warm air down into the room. To do this, simply flip the switch on the fan to reverse the direction. If you have an older fan, simply spin the blades in the opposite direction. In the winter, you shouldn’t feel any air coming off of the fan. In the summer, you should feel a cool breeze spin from the blades.

3. Shut the Door/ Close Off Fireplaces (from All Right Heating, Cooling and Electrical INC)

Close the door to rooms when you’re not in them and close off the fireplace when they aren’t in use. Shutting the door in a 100-square foot room for a few hours every day could save you four percent on your bill.

2. LETTTTTTTTT the Sunshine In (from Popular Mechanics)

I can’t help but sing the song by Aquarius when I think of this tip. Even though it’s cold outside, the sun can still heat up your home. During the day, open the blinds and draw back the curtains and use the natural light to make a room warmer. At night, close the curtains and blinds to reduce draft.

1. Unplug (from multiple sources)

Check your house for anything using ghost power. If you have TVs, automatic coffee pots, computers, tablets and cell phones plugged in, unplug them. Ghost power can use a majority of the energy in your home throughout the year. Just because you turn it off, doesn’t mean it’s not using power. If you put your hand in front of an appliance and it puts off a warm feeling or buzz when it’s off, it’s using energy. Similarly, if an object takes a second or two to turn on or power up, it’s only in stand-by mode when you hit the off button.

Honorable Mentions

Make sure to insulate the attic, keep floor vents free of furniture and clutter, wrap the hot water heater in an insulating jacket and seal leaks around the house. Also, rearrange furniture so that the heavy items like couches and beds are on the interior of a wall, as windows and exterior walls can be drafty.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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