8 Easy Ways Mainers Can Save Money on Their Heating Bills
At this point, it’s likely that most Mainers have thrown in the towel and turned the heat on. If not, you are a true warrior. Energy costs are high right now, and lots of people are looking for ways to save on their energy bills. There are several things that can be done to help your monthly bill stay within a more affordable range.
1. Make Sure Your Windows Are Insulated
This might be the most important thing you can do. According to the Department of Energy, heat loss through windows accounts for about 25-30% of heating energy use. It’s the time of year to check your windows to make sure that they are properly insulated. The easiest way to do this is to hover your hand an inch or so over the window (the area near the windowsill is usually the best), and check to see if you feel a cool draft coming in. If so, science is letting you know that the cold air from outside is coming into your home. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need new windows, but some simple weather stripping may do the trick. This goes for doors as well, although it may be tough to apply weather stripping on doors that are in use.
2. Clean/Service Your Furnace
A good rule of thumb has always been to have your furnace serviced once per year. There is a cost involved in this, but if there is something wrong internally, you may not even know, and it could be making the furnace work harder than it needs to. It’s also a good idea to check your filter to make sure it’s clean.
3. Water Heater Efficiency
According to the Department of Energy, water heating is the second largest utility cost, running at approximately $400-$600 per year. Investing in a water heater smart controller can save you a substantial amount of money, and some of them start as low as $24. Have you noticed your water heater turning on every time you use hot water? This will control the temperature of the water, and your heater will only turn on when you need it.
4. Open and Close Your Blinds and Curtains Accordingly
This one is quite simple and won’t cost you a dime, granted you already have blinds or curtains on your windows. Keeping your blinds open during the day will allow sunlight to enter your home; that is free heat right there. Keeping them closed at night will act as insulation by helping keep the warm air inside.
5. Close Your Fireplace
Imagine if there was a hole in your ceiling in the middle of the winter. Well, leaving your damper open in your fireplace is similar. This one is a big “out of sight, out of mind” issue that energy users often overlook. This will help to block the cold outside air from coming in, but if you have glass doors on your fireplace, it’s advised to close those as well, as that will act as an added element of insulation.
6. Check Your Attic Insulation
It’s likely you haven’t been up there in a while. It might be a good time to pull yourself up to see what’s going on. Although various sources report different numbers, Energystar.gov states that 10-14 inches should be in place to keep your home properly insulated, depending on your type of insulation.
7. Turn on Those Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are typically associated with keeping you cool during the warmer months. However, using them in the colder months will essentially push the warm air near the ceiling back into the room. Just make sure it’s running clockwise. Otherwise, the reverse effect will come into play.
8. Turn Down Your Thermostat
Yeah, I get it, you were probably looking for alternatives so you don’t have to do this. If you’re one that likes it nice and toasty, this one might not apply to you, but keeping your home at a comfortable 68 degrees can save you substantial heating costs.
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Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka