DIY

12+ ways to slash your heating bill and save this winter season

December 9th, 2019
Wintertime brings with it frigid temperatures across some parts of the country and chilly overnight temps for even typically warm states. No matter where you live, when the temperatures dip down, heating bills go up.
There are several ways to fight that spike in heating bills and keep unwelcomed Old Man Winter out of your home without pursuing costly measures such as replacing windows, fixing siding or even installing an energy-efficient furnace.
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Flickr/Lisa Jacobs Source: Flickr/Lisa Jacobs
By implementing several of these tricks, you hopefully will enjoy a toastier home this winter and avoid that dreaded jump in your heating bill. Studies show you can actually slash your bill by 10 percent simply by ridding your home of nasty drafts and taking preventative measures.

Bundle Up To Keep Costs Down

One method of staying warm in the overnight without running up your temperature setting and bumping up your bill is to place a hot water bottle or heating pad in your bed 30 minutes before you crawl in. Or invest in a heated throw blanket to help keep away the nighttime chills. Also throw on a sweatshirt, fuzzy socks and other layers when heading to bed and paddling around the house during the day.
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Flickr/Jim Winstead Source: Flickr/Jim Winstead

Add Attic Insulation

If you haven’t ventured up into the attic lately, now’s the time. The R-value of attic insulation equates to its ability to resist heat flow. So if you store items in the attic, they likely have compressed the insulation and reduced its R-value. Over time, attic insulation’s R-value wears down, too, so check and see how full the insulation is. It’s actually quite easy to add insulation to your attic yourself.

Toy With the Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat also can help. Set it back 10 degrees for an eight-hour period when you are not home, which can save you upwards of seven percent on your bill. Also, make sure the vents closest to the thermostat are closed. This will trick the thermostat into thinking it’s toasty warm across the house based upon the temperature nearby.
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Flickr/CORGI HomePlan Source: Flickr/CORGI HomePlan

Check Electrical Outlets

When a home is built or an electrical outlet is added afterward, there can be gaps or cracks around the outlet box. Warm air is able to sneak outside through these gaps. Small cracks or gaps can be filled with caulk while bigger ones typically require foam sealant. Also, if caulk appears cracked and rock hard, then it’s time to peel off the old and lay down a new strip.

Winterize Windows

Instead of replacing windows, use much cheaper plastic coverings. Some of the brands aren’t detectable and they’re fairly easy to install for a quick fix. Interior caulk also can help fill small cracks and gaps around windows. Aso check for gaps in the window seal. Sometimes removable caulk or self-adhesive foam weatherstrip seal is needed to stop up those gaps. Just cut it to fit the size of the gap needed. Heavy curtains like blackout curtains used to darken rooms at nighttime also help keep the cold out. When it’s sunny out, open up the curtains and blinds and let Mother Nature help heat your home.

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Flickr/Andrew Seaman Source: Flickr/Andrew Seaman

Seal Holes In Walls

Exterior walls with holes in them for pipes and cables offer ample opportunity for drafts to blow in and warm air to leak out. It could be something as noticeable as a water pipe or easily overlooked such as a satellite dish cable. Expanding foam will easily and cheaply seal up any gaps.

Stop Drafts

If you can see light between the bottom of your door and the floor or you can even feel a draft coming through, purchase an inexpensive draft stopper that attaches directly to the bottom of the door. Check for small leaks around windows by holding a light nearby and watch for the flame to flit sideways. Laying down an old towel in front of the door is an inexpensive way to block drafts. For bigger concerns, stuff an old pair of pantyhose with old unmatched socks, tie it off and use it instead.

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Flickr/Justin Snow Source: Flickr/Justin Snow

Try A Humidifier

Since moist air traps more heat, a small humidifier operated in the rooms you spend the most time in can help. A whole-house humidifier definitely would do the trick.

Avoid Exhaust Fans

While the exhaust fans in bathrooms are helpful for keeping the mirror free and eradicating odors from the kitchen, limit their use in the winter. That’s because they suck up warm air and expel it outdoors.

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Flickr/Chris Dlugosz Source: Flickr/Chris Dlugosz

Keep Vents Clear

Make sure none of your heating vents are blocked or covered in the wintertime. Furniture shouldn’t be in the way of the warm air blowing out and rugs shouldn’t cover them either. Keep them free from dust, dirt and cobwebs for maximum performance.

Crackling Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, using it more often will help disperse warm air throughout the house. But when you aren’t using it, make sure the flue is completely shut. If that seal isn’t tight, get a fireplace blanket or inflatable chimney balloon.

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Flickr/Luis Tamayo Source: Flickr/Luis Tamayo

Space Heaters For The Win

If you’re watching TV in the living room, working in the office or cuddling with a wee one in the nursery, an energy efficient space heater costs less to operate than a furnace and will help keep you toasty warm for the time being.

Fast Fix For the Furnace

It’s wise to have the furnace checked out each fall by a professional. It’s much cheaper to have small problems identified in the fall before they build up and become a much bigger issue in the winter.

Close Off Unused Rooms

Shut the doors to rooms you don’t frequently use to trap the cold air in there and let the warm air circulate through the rest of the home. You’ll definitely notice a difference between the heated areas and the closed-off areas.

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Source: Seaside Sundays, Flickr Tachyondecay

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