Monday, November 25, 2013

Winter, Ugh! Here Are Some Ways To Keep The Heat In!

Heating costs are known to skyrocket in the winter and here are some ways to save some heat and money for practically no out of pocket cost.

Let's get basic. Socks and sweaters can be your new best friends during these winter months, and can save you money at the same time.  For those fashion savvy savers, Snuggies are also a popular option.

Keep drafts out by keeping blinds and curtains closed at night and open during the day.  Letting the sun in during the day will help warm the house up.  Use this free resource to save some money on heating costs and make sure to remove extra tree branches and trim overgrown bushes if they are blocking the sun.

You may have those double paned windows, but you are still losing heat.  Let's face it - glass isn't a good insulator.  If you are not worried about curb appeal, you could use bubble wrap to keep your heat in!  Those pockets of air that we cannot resist popping actually help keep heat from escaping.  The installation is easy, just cut to fit, spray a small amount of water and press.

Use door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors and keep those chilly drafts from sneaking in at a very low price, ranging anywhere from $3-$10.  Another, even cheaper option, is pipe insulation.  It is extremely inexpensive, just make sure you get a size thick enough to fit snugly under your doors.
Here's an easy one.  Close flues and glass doors.  Heat rises and is sucked out.

Check your dampers!  If you haven't recently replaced them they could be pretty warped after all the heating and cooling over the years.  There's also a fireback, a fireback is sheets of reflective material placed against the back wall which sends heat back into your house.  There is also metallic, heat resistant silver spray paint you can use.

With just a screwdriver you can get outlet insulation pads.  Just pick them up at a hardware store for cheap!  You'll be amazed how much heat you lose from all the outlets in your home!

The cost of a programmable thermostat can run somewhere between $30-$100, but you can make that back pretty quickly.  Adjust your thermostat to set lower at night and when you are away most of the day.  Try 55 at night and 68 during the day.  You can calculate a 3% energy savings for every degree you set your thermostat back.

Wood Stove
With a wood burning stove you can not only get moisture into the dry winter air and add heat to your home; but, did you know that moisture helps retain heat?  Not only will your home be warmer but say goodbye to nose bleeds and dry skin.  If you're worried about mineral rings building up in the pan, just put in a little apple cider vinegar.

Use Heat Already in the House
Make sure all bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans are off.  They are vented to the outside and will allow heat to escape from your home very quickly!

Remember close off vents in a garage, basement, attic, spare bedrooms, storage areas, or any rooms you do not use.  This can make a huge impact on lowering heating costs!

You can also help lower heat costs by sealing gaps around pipes, wires, and vents that could transfer heat to areas you do not want heated.
Did you know that dust is a very good insulator?  Unfortunately, it will keep heat from getting into rooms that need it.  Clean up any dust that builds up around radiators and baseboard heat vents.

Water Heaters
You can easily lower your water heater 20 degrees and you won't even notice a difference.  If do not have a newer water heater, that has built-in insulation, you can buy an insulated jacket for around $15-$20.  This can be especially beneficial if your water heater is located in a garage or basement.  Also, wrapping water pipes is a good idea, especially through uninsulated areas.  This could run only $1-$5 for a 5 foot section.

Here's another easy one, clean your heating units.  This alone could save 3%-10% on heating bills!

Try a water efficient shower head ($20 or less) can save 25-50% less hot water.

Get a Checkup
Get a professional to look at your electric and oil heaters every year and every other year for gas heaters. This can save you $300-$400 after all is said and done!  Check filters in your heating systems to make sure they're clean and clear.  Not only that, you can save around $60 a year by replacing your air filters.

Explore the Outside
Check around your heating unit. Avoid stacking or draping anything against the heat pump.  Make sure it's clear of dirt.  If you find excess water around it, see whether the drain and pan are blocked.

Move Furniture    
Move furniture away from exterior walls this will let air move around and will make the room feel warmer.

How to find the drafts
Use the smoke from a candle or light an incense stick. Hold it close to windows, doors, light fixtures and look for smoke moving horizontally.
Check with your Utility Company
Find out if your utility companies have times of day when rates are lower. Use the dishwasher, washing machine and other energy using appliances during these, off-peak times to reduce energy costs.

With just a little prep, you can save a ton of money on your heating and energy bills this winter!

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