Ten Ways to Save Money on Heating Your Home This Winter

With Old Man Winter right around the corner and with the cost of energy on the rise, everyone is interested in saving money on the cost of heating his or her homes. On an average, Americans waste over $13 billion every year in heating their homes. That is an average of $150 per household. Much has been written about winterizing your home but here are ten things that the average do-it-yourselfer can do that have not appeared on the average DIYer’s to-do list.

1.Replace your old style thermostat with a programmable thermostat. Older thermostats are designed to operate at one setting only but with a programmable thermostat, you can program so that your heater provides different amounts of heat at different times of the day. For instance, you might program it to set back to 60 degrees at 11 p.m. when everyone is in bed and asleep and to reset again to 70 degrees at 5 a.m. so the house is nice and warm when you arise at 6 a.m. Programmable thermostats as the Honeywell RTH230 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat cost less than $40 at most home centers and can save you hundreds of dollars in heating cost.

Every programmable thermostat is slightly different as is every type of heating system so the steps that you need to follow to install them varies as well. The good news is that every manufacturer of programmable thermostats provides detailed instructions on how to install and adjust them. One word of caution, make sure you turn the power to the heater off at the breaker panel. Some thermostats operate at low voltage whiles others operate at line voltage (110 Volts) and line voltage can kill you. Although installing a programmable thermostat is an easy project that even the beginner can accomplish a good caveat when working around electricity is that if you have the slightest doubts about what you are doing, hire a professional to do it.

2.Reverse the direction of rotation of your ceiling fans. Most modern ceiling fans have a slide switch that allows you to change the direction of paddle rotation. During the hot months, the fan is set to suck the cool air from the A/C up to provide an even cooling effect. In the wintertime, you want to reverse the fan rotation so that it pushes the hot air down keeping it where you really want it, at your level. Hot air rises so the heating system runs longer and harder then it needs to heat an area that serves no good purpose.

If you have older fans that are not reversible, now would be a good time to replace them with modern fans that are equipped with wireless remote control units. Like the remote control to your entertainment center, these remote control units allow you to turn the lights on and control their brightness as well as control the speed and direction of the paddle fan. Remember, reversible paddle fans will save you money on cooling your home as well as on heating your home.

3.Change your furnace air intake filter element at least once a month. A dirty filter cuts down on airflow so your furnace has to work longer and harder to heat your home. Besides reducing the cost of heating your home, good filter maintenance will make your home a healthier home for its occupants. The furnace filter not only removes dust particles from the air, it cleanses the air of many microbes and other pollutants from the air.

It takes five minutes to replace the average filter, all you do is pull the old one out and slide the new one in. They are available at any home center, hardware store, and stores like Wal-Marts, K-Marts, etc. They are inexpensive too, costing between $5 and $25, so there is no good reason to not replace them on a monthly basis.

4.If you have a forced hot air heating system, remove the registers and vacuum out the ducts before turning the furnace on for the season. Then clean them periodically throughout the heating season. Also, make sure that furniture or other objects do not block the registers. The same applies to the cold air returns in each room; they must be free of obstructions to work efficiently.

5.If your home is heated by hot water, consider adding aluminum reflectors behind the radiators to reflect and direct the radiant heat into the room and away from the outside walls. You can purchase ready made reflectors at home centers or make your own by covering a thin piece of plywood with aluminum foil.

6.If your home has electric baseboard heating make sure that the strips are not blocked by furniture. Furniture is good heat absorbers and will soak up the heat before it reaches the areas you really want to heat. Consider having individual room thermostats installed so that you can heat rooms you seldom uses to a lower temperature than the rooms that get a lot of use.

7.If you have hardwood or tile floors, install area rugs to keep your feet warm instead of raising the thermostat setting to heat the floors themselves.

8.Blinds are an effective barrier to any cold air that may leak in around windows, so keep them closed at night and open them during the day so that the sun can help heat your home.

9.If you have a real fireplace in your home, check the damper for leakage. Check the damper by closing it all the way and then holding a piece of tissue paper inside the fireplace. If the tissue paper is tossed about by a draft, have the damper repaired or replaced.

10. When using a fireplace, turn the furnace thermostat down to 55 degrees or else all its heat will go right up the fireplace flu.

Well that is it for now. I hope that this article will go a long ways towards helping you cut the cost of heating your home this winter.

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