As the winter months fast approach and the cold slowly creeps in, the cost of heating our home becomes a concern for many people. There are many ways to heat our homes including geothermal heating systems, wood burning boilers and more conventional heating methods like gas furnaces and electric heaters. It is at this time of year that many of us ask, “What can I do to keep down the cost of my heating bills?”. Below, we have outlined some tips to help you to try and reduce your heating bill this winter.
- Before the winter winds and cold air start sifting in to your home, take time to inspect and insulate your home for the cold months ahead. It may be as simple as spraying foam into cracks and crevices.
Make sure your attic is well insulated. Since heat rises, quite a bit of heat can be lost through the roof of your home so make sure that there is plenty of insulation up there. Remember that even in well insulated attics, the access door may not be properly insulated, allowing warm air to escape through the attic hatch so make sure that the door is insulated properly and has a good seal. You can use an adhesive to attach fibreglass batt insulation to the attic side of the door.
If accessible, check the insulation in other ceilings of your home including exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces.
- Make sure that your doors and windows are well sealed from air leaks. By tightening your door seals, the cold air stays out and the warmth stays in and this in turn saves on energy costs.
You can also adjust door thresholds where necessary. If you are able to see daylight under your front door, then you are losing the heat that you have built up inside. You may have to adjust the height of your thresholds in order to eliminate the gap. Don’t raise the threshold so high that it interferes with the normal opening and closing of the door.
Windows account for a huge amount of heat loss in our homes. One useful suggestion is to cover windows and patio doors with plastic film. This can help to reduce the heat loss and the transparent film is relatively inexpensive, easy to put on and won’t harm your trim. It also comes off easily when the good weather returns.
- If you have a vent fan in your kitchen to eliminate cooking smoke, or you have one in your bathroom to get rid of moist air, try to minimise their use. Alternatively, you can use a fan to ventilate the air out of the room into other areas of the house as a vent fan will carry your warm air outdoors resulting in extensive heat loss.
- Pipes, gas lines and electrical cables going in to your house can often have spaces around them that may not have been filled in correctly. Naturally, these spaces let cold air in. Aswell as letting in the cold, they are idyllic entry points for mice and insects. Make sure that you seal these spaces well with expanding foam.
- Get a programmable thermostat, this can help to automatically lower the temperature of your home at night and when you’re at work, making the heat run less when your house is not occupied. This can prove to be a well worth while investment.
- Use an insulation blanket on your hot water heater. Most modern hot water heaters are already well insulated, but many old heaters can lose a lot of heat. If you have an older hot water heater, consider getting an insulation blanket for it. This will help to keep the heat inside, keep your water warm and not lose heat.
- Keep Warm Air from Escaping Up the Chimney. Even when the chimney flue is closed, some warm air will still escape. One way to prevent this is to block the airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon. These balloons are suitable to fit various chimney sizes. You can simply blow up the balloon and place it in the chimney. If you forget to take it out before you start a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate so it won’t cause your house to fill with smoke. This is another worth while investment.
- Keep the fireplace damper closed if you can. Heat rises so having your damper open will allow the hot air to escape.
Replace older or loose fireplace dampers. Install a sheet-metal insert instead, which will prevent some heat loss and also help to reflect heat from the fireplace back into the room.
- Correct maintenance will help your heating unit run more efficiently. Electric and oil heaters should be looked at by a qualified professional at least once a year and gas heaters should be looked at every other year. Also, remember to check the filters in your heating system and make sure that they are clean as dirty filters will ultimately lead to higher heating costs.
- Try to use your boiler for hot water rather than your electric emersion as it consumes a lot more energy.
- Buy a low flow shower head. A water efficient shower head reduces the amount of hot water that you use saving both on hot water and electricity bills.
- Turn off the heat in rooms that you are not using like the guest bedroom or any other room in the house that you don’t use very often and also close the vents in those rooms.
- If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms in the house, reduce the thermostat lower and put a space heater in the room where you spend your time. It’s much cheaper to have a space heater heating up one room than to pay to have to heat your whole house unnecessarily. When buying heaters make sure that they are the correct size for the room you want to heat.
- Remember to wrap up well. Why keep the house at a high temperature when you can just throw on an extra layer instead? This will help to ensure that you aren’t wasting money to keep other parts of your house warm. If your feet are cold, your whole body will feel cold, so remember to wear warm socks around the house in the winter. You don’t need to go to the extreme in the photo above but an extra layer would be a big help!
- Lastly, don’t forget the old hot water bottle, this is a cheap way to make a cold bed instantly warm on those wintery nights.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other comments or suggestions that you would like to add please feel free to enter them in the comments box below.
All the best,
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