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10 Quick and Easy Things You Can Do Today To Reduce Your Heating Costs This Winter

Posted by Sherry Rioux on November 21, 2011

It’s that time of year again were the prospect of big home heating bills is upon us.

A couple of years ago, John and I had an energy audit completed and then made some basic changes which had a dramatic impact on our heating costs lowering them by over 30%.  The biggest factor was adding insulation for sure however, there were a number of other easy things we did that can impact your bills by 5-10% with little cost and time.

1.  Go buy some metal backed duct-tape and seal all of your exposed duct seams in any unfinished areas such as your attics, garages, basements and crawl spaces.  Add a wrap of ductwork insulation if accessible.

2. Install a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature in your house when you are sleeping or away.  Just one degree can reduce your bill by as much as 3%.

3. Best bang for your buck is air sealing.  Close all your windows and doors and then light a stick of incense and go around to fit air movement.  Window frames, doors, baseboards, ceiling penetrations, wall outlets – they are all culprits.  The biggest single heat loss is usually through an improperly fitted and sealed attic hatch.  Have you checked yours lately?  Install foam gaskets behind all of your outer wall outlets and under your ceiling light fixtures.  Use clear caulking to seal around baseboards and foam larger gaps around toilet stacks and outside holes.

4. Clean your outside vents so they close properly when not in use.  The grease build up on things like a hood fan or laundry vent can cause the flaps to remain open when not in use allowing warm air to escape.

5. Check the temperature oh your hot water heater.  Most installers set it at 140 degrees.  You can safely reduce it to 120 degrees.  While you are at it, install an insulation jacket if it is an electric heater.

6. Make sure your heating vents and cold air returns are open and that air can move in and out freely.

7. Use your curtains to allow passive solar heating to come in during the day through south facing windows and then close them all up at night.

8. Have your furnace serviced, ducts cleaned if necessary and change your air filters every month through the heating season.

9. Run your ceiling fans in reverse to allow accumulated warm air to push down.  This is especially good if you have a fan on a cathedral ceiling.

10. Buy flannel sheets.  Ok, I have no idea if this helps but being a person who hates having cold feet when I got to bed at night, I went and bought a set (40% off of course) and think this may be warmer and cozier than cool, crisp cotton sheets in winter.

Do you have other inexpensive and quick tips to share here?

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