Fall has arrived and with it has come colder temperatures. For many of us, that means we’re turning on our heating systems once again and will soon receive our first heating bill. Dealing with high utility costs for heating and cooling is a major part of home ownership. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, home heating accounts for 48% of your utility bill! There are lots of ways to lower your heating bill, but here are our favourite quick and easy tips that will help you start to save money on heating, with almost no cost.
Seal All Doors and Windows
The best way to lower your heating bill is to stop heat from leaving your home through drafts, air leaks and poorly insulated windows and doors. This simple project costs under $10 and could save you up to 10% on your heating bills. To eliminate these weak spots in your home’s envelope, use a screwdriver to probe along your window and doorframes. Any weak spots should be filled in with caulk. Alternatively, if the weather has already turned cold, simply holding your hands over your windows and doors will also work. You’ll be able to feel the cold air coming in.
When it comes to sealing areas around movable joints, like doors and windows, use weather stripping. Make sure to choose a type of weather stripping that will withstand the elements if you’re installing it on the outside of your home, and check it every spring and fall, replacing as needed.
Clean or Replace Your Heat Pump Air Filter
If you have a geothermal heat pump, fall is the perfect time to replace your heat pump’s filter. Dirty air filters reduce airflow through the system, which makes the heat pump work harder. This decreases your heat pump’s performance and is hard on the compressor. If you have a fiberglass air filter in your heat pump, you should replace it with a new one at least twice a year.
If you have an electrostatic air filter, you can reuse it after a thorough cleaning. To clean your electrostatic filter, pull it out of the heat pump, and spray it down with a garden hose. Be careful that you don’t use too much water pressure because that could damage your filter. Once the filter is dry, you can reinsert it into the heat pump.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a good source of low cost cooling in the summer time, but did you know that you could use them to increase heating efficiency when the weather turns cold? You can do this by reversing the direction of your ceiling fan. This changes the flow of air from down flow to up flow. This simple action will re-distribute warm air from the ceiling, back into the room, allowing your heating system to work less hard, and saving you money.
Switch To a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a great way to save up to 10% on your heating bill. It works by allowing you to automatically lower the temperature in your home several degrees, and then raise it later. For example, you could program the thermostat to turn down the heat while you’re at work, and to turn it back up before you get home, so that you use less heat while you’re away, without sacrificing comfort.
You could also program it to turn the heat down while you’re sleeping. Most programmable thermostats come with 5-1-1 or 5-2 functionality, which means you can program the thermostat’s behavior throughout the week, and program separate behavior for the weekend. You can also manually override the settings to set a custom temperature.
The best way to save money on your heating bill is to use less heat. This can be accomplished by eliminating heat loss in your home, upgrading to more efficient home heating equipment like a Nordic heat pump, or by using heat more efficiently. Combining all of the tips above will get you the best results, and will help you save money on your heating bills this fall.
Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger