Many people heat with natural gas. The price of natural gas has risen significantly over the last few years. For many us the cost to heat our homes has become difficult to afford. Being as frugal as I am, I decided to find simple no-cost or low-cost ways to reduce my heating bill. These are the 10 best ways to reduce your winter-heating costs without spending a bunch of money on home improvements.
I found through contacting my county extension agent that the biggest use of natural gas and thus the most of my heating bill is for heating my home. About 65% of the natural gas that we use in our homes goes to heating our home. Since this is the largest portion of your usage, this would be the best place to concentrate most of my efforts to reduce my heating bill.
You should start by turning down your thermostat to 68 degrees. Put on a sweatshirt and a fuzzy pair of socks to make you more comfortable if you feel a bit chilly. By turning my thermostat down, I noticed that my furnace ran much less and I quickly became accustomed to the cooler temperature in my house. While we are adjusting the thermostat lets go ahead and turn it back a full 10 degrees at night and when no one is home. By remembering to do this you can realize as much as a 15% reduction in heating costs.
To make it even easier to remember to turn back the thermostat, install a programmable thermostat. All you have to do is program it to your normal routine and forget it. Programmable thermostats are much more affordable these days. A good programmable thermostat can be purchased for around $50 or less.
Keeping your furnace clean and well maintained will also help to reduce your heating bill. You will have to hire a furnace technician to do this but the cost will be offset by the savings. The technician will clean the furnace, blower and burners. This will assure maximum airflow and complete combustion. He may also adjust the fuel air mixture to attain proper combustion. While maintaining your furnace, don’t forget to change your filters monthly. Changing your filters will help to keep good return airflow and keeps the inside of the furnace cleaner.
The second most significant use of natural gas in your home is your water heater. It can account for as much as 25% of your natural gas usage. Turn the thermostat back to 125 degrees. 125 degrees is adequate for most homes. If you cannot comfortably let a stream of hot water run on the back of your hand, then you need to turn down the water heater thermostat.
While you are checking your water heater’s thermostat, you just as well install a water heater blanket. This is an insulating blanket that you wrap around your water heater. By insulating your water heater you keep more heat inside where it belongs. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the insulating blanket and do not cover the thermostat.
Of course reducing your hot water usage will also go along way in saving you on your heating bill. Most laundry detergents are formulated to work in cold water, switch over to cold water wash and rinse and the water heater works less. Check also for any leaking faucets and repair them. This will not only reduce your heating costs but will also save you on your water bill.
Air leaks around windows and doors will increase your heating costs and cause uncomfortable cold drafts. Check the weather stripping around your doors and window to be sure that it is not cracked, damaged or missing. Replace worn weather stripping and keep those cold winter drafts outside.
If you do not have double pane windows make sure that all of your storm windows and storm doors close and seal properly. By closing your storm windows you create a “dead air space” between the storm window and interior window. This will help to insulate against heat loss through windows.
Open your shades or curtains on south facing windows on sunny days. The sun will shine in and help to heat your home making it more comfortable since you have turned the thermostat down.
By turning down the thermostat and taking a conservative mindset you will realize a noticeable difference in your heating costs. If you implement each of these 10 strategies you will have more money to spend on Christmas or hide away for a rainy day. Yes and I gave an 11th tip to save on heating costs for free. Save money and stay warm this winter.