Tips for Combatting Rising Winter Heating Costs

Posted on: 22 January 2016

If the rapidly dropping temperatures of winter bring on a sudden fear of rising utility costs, don't panic. The good news is that you CAN have both a comfortable house and lower heating bills this winter. With a little bit of preparation, you can optimize your home's climate control system and energy use to make the most of your heating. Here's a look at some of the things that you should consider to help keep your home warm all winter long without busting your utility budget for the season.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to reduce your heating costs is to reduce your heat demand. Many people will turn the heat down when they leave in the morning, keeping the house cooler all day while they work. Unfortunately, this can leave you feeling chilled when you get home until your heating system warms the home back up. You can have the best of both worlds if you invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you can drop the temperature a few degrees around the time you leave in the morning, then have it come back up to your preferred level about a half-hour before you come home. You can also set the thermostat to keep the house cooler overnight, which will not only reduce your heating costs, but may even help you sleep better.

Clear Your Air Vents of Obstructions

Go through every room in the house and make sure that the air vents are not only visible, but also accessible. There shouldn't be any furniture, curtains, or rugs in the way of the air vents, because that can block the heat flow into the room. Move any obstacles out of the way, then open the vents and make sure there is no dust or debris inside. You can even call your heating company or your HVAC technician about vacuuming out the air ducts and vents to prevent any dust clogs from hindering the air flow.

Winterize Your Home Windows

Household windows are a common source of heat loss, particularly when they are drafty or not properly winterized. Install storm windows where you can and add weather stripping around the windows. If possible, consider replacing single-pane windows with more efficient varieties. If new windows aren't in the budget, consider some shrink-style plastic window covering to seal the insides of the windows against the cold. You can adhere the plastic around the window frame with double-sided adhesive, then use a hair dryer to shrink it.

Upgrade or Replace Insulation

The insulation in your house is essential to keeping the heat inside. Depending on how old your home is, the insulation may not be at its best. Over time, insulation can settle, collapse, or deteriorate. Consider having your home's insulation assessed and filled in where needed to optimize your home's climate control and keep air leaks at bay.

Consider a Heating and Energy Audit

In addition to the other measures available to you for maximizing your heat this winter, you should also consider investing in a home energy audit. This is usually conducted by your home energy supplier, and they will help you to locate areas in your home where you're losing energy. This includes drafty areas, inefficient appliances, and other common trouble sources. You may be able to cut your home energy cost by a quarter.

As you can see, there are many different ways to make the most of your home's heating this winter. There's no reason for the cold temperatures to lead to rising monthly bills. With the tips here and the support of your HVAC technician and home energy supplier, you'll be able to optimize your house for the winter season ahead. To get started, contact a representative from a service like Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling for more information or to set up an appointment for a home audit.