Simple Ways to Save on Winter Home Heating Costs

Easy Measures for Reducing Home Heating Bills

By Mark J. Donovan

With the approach of winter it is time to begin to think about home heating. I guarantee you the home heating oil and gas companies already have. No doubt they have price hikes already penciled in on their calendars and are just waiting for the first cold snap or snow storm to announce their price increases and their excuses on why there will be limited home heating fuel supplies this winter.

The first step you can take to minimizing your winter home heating costs is to make sure your home heating system has been cleaned and maintained for maximum efficiency.

Over a year’s time air and fuel filters can become dirty, jets can become clogged, circulating pumps can become weak or fail, and thermostat settings can drift. Anyone of these types of problems can impact your home heating systems efficiency level and in some cases prevent it from working in entirety.

In addition to servicing your home heating system you can also take numerous other measures to help save on winter home heating costs.

First, start by checking the insulation in your attic and crawl spaces. Make sure the insulation meets the building codes for your climate zone. Attics and crawl spaces are notorious for being under insulated and for contributing to major home heating losses.

Second, install storm windows and doors, as they can dramatically reduce the amount of air infiltration into your home. If you cannot afford storm windows consider installing sheets of plastic over the windows as an alternative.

There are some specifically designed and manufactured plastic sheet products for windows that do an excellent job of preventing air infiltration.

Third, caulk around all doors and windows on the exterior of the home. Also check the doors and windows for air leaks. Where there are air leaks, apply weather stripping. Also place a folded towel or cloth snake up against exterior doorway openings.

Fourth, check the exterior foundation of your home for cracks. Foundation cracks not only make your home susceptible to water infiltration but also cold air. Fill the cracks with a foundation crack sealer. In addition, you may also want to consider installing plastic against the foundation walls.

Fifth, install programmable thermostats in each heating zone of your home. Program the thermostats for cooler temperatures at night, and while you are away from the home during the day. Also program the thermostats for 66-68o temperature settings when you are home, and wear a sweater or sweatshirt.

Make sure to clean your furnace annually.

Sixth, minimize the use of your bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans. Not only do they draw moisture out of the home, but also a significant amount of heat.

Seventh, do not heat underutilized rooms or levels of the home. Close the heating registers or lower the thermostat settings in these rooms or levels if you can. Alternatively, use a space heater in these rooms when you infrequently use them.

Eighth, make sure your hot water heater is not turned up too high, and that it and/or the hot water storage tank are wrapped in an insulation blanket.

Ninth, use drapes, blinds and curtains intelligently. Open them up on southing facing sides of the home, or when the sun is directly shining into them, and close them when it is not.

Finally, shorten your shower times. Long drawn out showers consume a great deal of hot water and home heating fuel. Work at cutting your shower time in half. By shortening your shower time you can also reduce the amount of time the bathroom ventilation fan needs to be operating.

By implementing these energy saving tips you should be able to dramatically save on winter home heating costs as well as help the environment. And maybe the most important benefit put less money in the hands of oil and gas companies.

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